We are on the south side of Madeira island, in Ribeira Brava, which is known to have one of the best weathers in Madeira, with sunny days, little rain and beautiful sunsets.
But what also makes Ribeira Brava so unique in the island is its prime central location, which makes going around from here very easy.
As so, Ribeira Brava provides an excellent starting point for your holidays in Madeira island, but it also has many beautiful things to explore, as well as various cafes, restaurants, shops and supermarkets.
The building of the current Ethnographic Museum of Madeira was the home of Captain Luís Gonçalves da Silva and was named previously named Old Chapel and Solar of Saint José.
Years later the old manor was converted into an industrial unit, with a sugar cane mill, animal traction mill, and a distillation still (some of these elements are still visible inside the museum). The mill underwent several improvements in the 60’s, namely the use of hydropower.
In 1983, the Regional Government decided to install the ethnographic museum of Madeira here. Nowadays it stages several temporary and permanent expositions with themes related to Madeiran culture.
Having the oracle to Saint Benedict, the Church has a portal of three Gothic archivolts, endowed with historical capitals, practically unparalleled on the island. Its construction dates to the 16th century.
Inside, the church displays three altars. The main Altar has a magnificent altarpiece of gilded and polychrome carving of the end of the XVII century. This piece is attributed to the workshop of Manuel Pereira de Almeida, also responsible for the other two altars.
You will also find in the interesting artwork, a monumental image of Our Lady of the Rosary, of Flemish production, dating to about 1520. The matrix still has a magnificent board attributed to the Flemish painter, Francisco Henriques, representing Our Lady, Saint Bento and Saint Bernardo.
In its interior we can find Manueline works as the capitals, the pulpit of the Matrix and the baptismal font (offer of D. Manuel I, King of Portugal).
Inside the São Bento Church, in a gallery room, you can find the silver nucleon. In a collection of 66 pieces, there are silver candlesticks, crowns, sticks, cruets, chalices, “caldeirinhas” among other silver materials from the 16th and 17th century.
The processional cross dating from 1584, attributed to Marcos Agostinho, is one of the greatest pieces that can be seen in this small nucleus.
For a more authentical shopping experience go to the Municipal Market of Ribeira Brava, where you can buy or just see from typical agricultural products to regional spices and fresh herbs. It is located next to the promenade of the village.
Its construction was determined by the governor Duarte Sodré Pereira to defend that anchorage, as the defense of the Island has always been a constant concern, both on the part of the kings, and of the island’s granaries.
It was recovered in 1916 and nowadays it serves as an Information Desk for tourists and locals.
Next to the promenade of Ribeira Brava, in a cliff, you have the lighthouse, where you can glimpse the magnificent view of the village and the sea.
After seeing the lighthouse and its views just enter the small tunnel to the Port of Ribeira Brava, a very traditional place where fishermen and boats that did the crossing to different places of the island departed. You can contemplate from here the mountains and some remaining boats.
Estrada da Banda de Além 25, 9350-232 Ribeira Brava - Madeira · Portugal