Monte Tropical Garden

Explore the Wonderful Monte Tropical Garden
Located in Monte, a suburb of Funchal, this scenic garden is home to a rich variety of exotic plants and trees.
The Monte Tropical Garden is not the typical garden you would find in Madeira Island, yet, a visit to this garden is surely an unforgettable one.
Madeira entrepreneur José Berardo donated Monte Palace in 1988 to the Berardo Foundation and from there began his creative work phase. His dream of a Tropical garden of which he would be able to share with the world became true in 1991, when he opened the doors to his masterpiece to the public.  All the exotic plants both native and from all around the world in Berardo´s garden thrive due to Madeira´s special climate.

Monte Tropical Garden

Monte Tropical Garden


Within this tropical garden is the Monte Tropical Garden. The Museum has three galleries and currently houses the following exhibitions:
•    African Passion
•    Mother Nature´s Secrets


“African Passion” displays part of a collection of more than 1000 sculptures of Zimbabwean sculpture between the periods of 1966 to 1969. This exhibition is distributed throughout 2 floors of the museum.
“Mother Nature´s Secrets” is a unique collection of minerals that are predominant from Brazil, Peru, Argentina, Portugal, North America, Zambia and South Africa.
Exotic Flora and Fauna…


The Monte Palace Tropical Garden occupies an area of 70.000 square meters and houses an huge exotic plant’s collection, coming from all over the world, together with swans and duck’s, that populates the central lake, peacocks and chickens, that walk free in the main areas of the property.
Azaleas and Orchids from the Himalayas, Heather from Scotland, Proteceae (“protea” from South Africa) and a rare and singular Cycads collection, are just a few of thousands of species that you can find in the garden.


In the central lake, the visitor may also admire the beauty and majesty of the swans. They prefer the relatively shallow cool water of lakes and ponds as their natural habitat. Despite of being actually admired in gardens all over the world, the black swans originate from Australia, Tasmania and New Zeeland and the wild white swans have their origin in Iceland and Scandinavia.
When walking through the garden, visitors may come across with beautiful peacocks, which where brought over from the Museum / Tropical Garden of Belém (Lisbon), in March 1995, also with their descendents already born here.


In some countries these animals are regarded very highly. In India, for example, they are afforded in a special esteem and protection, either because of religious conventions or practical considerations. The fact they feed on small reptiles, some of them poisonous, is considered a sign of divinity and immortality, since it represents their immunity, and for this reason they often feature as ornaments in Hindu temples.
The peacock also as a fundamental role in the folklore of Vietnam and China, being viewed as a Messenger of peace and prosperity. Throughout Asia the peacock dance symbolises the awakening of Nature and the arrival of the monsoons and for these reasons is related to fertility.
In 2004 where introduced several chicken species, from the local nominated “palheiras” to the very well known Combat Cock from Indonesia. They have procreated and occupied several areas of Monte Tropical Garden.


From time to time the visitor may see the Capped-Heron, a bird of a great stature witch, when perched in the lake, measures about one meter height. It is grey and white and has long orangey – yellow legs.
Large varieties of Koi fishes inhabit the lakes. These friendly and docile fishes come in various sizes and colours and they can live up to 100 years. These particular characteristic owned them a special respect among the oriental population.
Monte Tropical Garden provides plenty of things to see. He is located on the hillside, 600 meters above the Sea, and offer stunning views of the of the Bay of Funchal city and of the Atlantic Ocean.

Cycads
One of the largest collections of cycads in the world, originating mainly from South Africa, is to be found in the Monte Palace Tropical Garden. These are often described as “living fossils” since they appeared in the Mesozoic Era, two hundred million years ago, and in one’s imagination they are related with extinct dinosaurs from the same period. Monte Tropical Garden.


One of their peculiarities is the way in which they have evolved, without any changes in appearance, having overcome the great climatic changes and maintaining the characteristics of gymnosperms. They are plants with evergreen leaves, being dioecious (the male and female flowers occur on different plants) and they have bare flowers (without perianths), with ovules not enclosed in an ovary, but arranged in carpels, which insert themselves spirally onto an axis, forming a structure similar to a cone.
Cycads are often confused with palm trees since they both have a head of leaves and the word “cycad” itself is derived from the Greek word “cykos” meaning “similar to the palm tree”.
Cycads are part of the Cycadales Order. The three families currently in existence belong to this Order divided into 11 gender and 185 species. Monte Tropical Garden has more than 700 plants belonging to roughly 60 species, planted here in 1988.
Cycads are highly sensitive plants. Their acclimatization is at times, difficult and this difficulty is intensified by their special method of reproduction.

Monte Tropical Garden

Monte Tropical Garden


Koi Fish
One of the greatest curiosities of this garden is the existence of Koi fishes in some of the lakes. Descending from the black fish known as Magoi, it is a carp known as Cyprinus carpio. These fish originally came from East Asia, mainly from China and were introduced into Japan during the Chinese invasion, in 200 BC, at which time their colours were limited to red and grey.
In the 17th century the carps were introduced into the irrigation channels of Yamakoshi, in the poor region of Niigata in Japan, to supplement the “rice-growers” diet. Since then Koi have come a long way with the help of dedicated breeders and enthusiasts. Many species of various colours and sizes can be found in the garden lakes.


The Berardo Foundation had to follow a certain number of rules to allow the Koi to flourish. No areas of stagnant water are allowed within the layout of the Lakes. A modern filtration system was also built to ensure the survival of these friendly, docile fish which can live up to 100 years. The filtering system is composed of three elements, between them are porcelain rings, effecting the biological purification of the water using biodynamic mechanisms, thus dispensing with the use of chemical products.
The diet of these animals is made up of lettuce, prawns, wholemeal bread and floating rations rich in vitamins, mineral salts, proteins, carbohydrates and some glycosides, especially intended for their development or their pigmentation.


Branches of cedar-wood are placed where the female lays her eggs in these lakes. The eggs stick to the branches and are protected from the hungry mouths of other fish. The cedar-wood is then taken away to another lake without any fish. This phenomenon was found to have happened occasionally, when a branch of cedar-wood fell into the lake and days later was found covered with eggs.

Native Flora
In order to understand why it was so important to the Berardo Foundation to reconstruct the natural flora of Madeira in this garden we have to go back in history.
When Madeira was first settled in 1420, clearings were created for habitation by fires. This led to the legend of the seven-year fire described by Gaspar Frutuoso in his writings.
The succession of fires on the south coast and the extraction of wood to be exported to the Continent on a large scale, were facts which contributed to the devastation of the primitive forest. Added to this was the presence of herds of goats and sheep, large numbers of sugar mills and coal-burning factories.
Although parts of the Island’s vegetation survived, many of the species endemic to Madeira are still today, in danger of extinction. It was considered necessary to create an area that would accommodate species from all three altitude levels of this mountainous Island.


Examples include the dragon tree, Dracaena draco, which flowers between August and October. Its red sap called “dragon blood” was used in home remedies, in the production of paint and as varnish for violins.
Another example is the Euphorbia piscatoria, a shrub that is endemic to the archipelago of Madeira, which flowers from April to the end of May. Its scientific name is due to the fact that, in ancient times, its poisonous sap was used by fishermen to catch fish in pools of water.


The greatest number of species in this garden belongs to higher altitudes, the Laurissilva and other high altitude vegetation, some of which can adapt to different altitudes. Examples among others are the Canary Laurel, the Stinklaurel, Madeira Mahogany and flowering vegetation such as the Pride of Madeira and the Bastard Hare’s Ear.


“… The Laurissilva of Madeira is an outstanding relict of a previously widespread laurel forest type. It is the largest surviving area of laurel forest and is believed to be 90% primary forest. It contains a unique suite of plants and animals, including many endemic species such as the Madeira long-toed pigeon. …”

Orchids
In the front of the palace and under protection of cover from the sun and frost, orchids are grown. These are plants of singular beauty and diversity of shapes and colours.
They may be found in very different climatic conditions, owing to their great capacity to adapt. One of their characteristics is that the leaves have transformed into fleshly organs, authentic reservoirs of water, allowing for their survival during droughts.
The orchid belongs to the Orchidacea family, which is made up of 788 genders with around 19,000 species having been discovered, spread throughout the world, except in Antarctica.
Until the mid 17th century the orchid was used in medicine for the most part. It was their later cultivation in Europe which gave impetus to the decorative use, since when cultivated they adapt to a large variety of situations, with different growth habits, shapes and colours.

Oriental Gardens
During a trip to China and Japan José Berardo became enchanted by their history, culture and way of life and by the influence of the Portuguese on the Orient over 200 years. As such, the two oriental gardens are an attempt to recreate that culture, linked to Buddhism, with its respect for Nature and its highly symbolic elements.
At the entrance to the Oriental garden in the Northern area, there are two marble Fo dogs, mythical animals from the Orient usually found at the entrance to temples, acting as guards. There is a moveable ball in their half-open mouths which, according to the Chinese belief, brings good luck to those who give it one complete turn.
The decoration is based on the oriental style, and thus various pagodas may be found, originally intended to house relics or to mark a holy places.


Apart from these, the visitor may also observe Buddhist sculptures, a dragon in marble surrounded by children representing fertility, stone seats with oriental decorations, and several lanterns, also in stone.
Water is also an important decorative feature in the form of lakes and waterfalls, with miniature islands and ornamental bridges. Next to the lakes containing Koi fish, two bamboo ornaments in the shape of pipes are to be seen. When these become filled with water and it is discharged into the lake, the resulting noise, apart from frightening away the birds, represents the passing of time.
From Asia we can find a species of cycad, Cyca revolute and in both the oriental gardens we come across various tree ferns, whose lush green vegetation contrasts with the red and black of the bridges and railings.
There are also flowering plants such as the camellia, a shrub with evergreen leaves, highly valued for the number of attractive flowers that bloom, above all, in the winter and spring.

Ceramic Tiles
One of the most interesting characteristics of the Monte Tropical Garden is the existence of a large collection of tile panels placed along the walkways and amongst the vegetation acquired by José Berardo, under the specialist direction of Manuel Leitão.
This collection, considered to be one of the most important in the country after that of the National Tile Museum, is made up of Hispano-Moorish tiles of the 15th and 16th centuries and panels produced in Portugal from the 19th to the 20th centuries.


The examples on exhibition are representative of the decorations used in the various eras, originating from palaces, churches, chapels and residences in various localities in Portugal and they depict social, cultural and religious events, remarkable at they’re time, and important to Portuguese History.
The term “azulejaria” is used to define a branch of ceramics with decorative themes, its products being used to cover the surfaces of walls and floors, among others.
The word “azulejo” derives from the Arabic al-zuleycha which means “small stone” and defines a ceramic piece which is square in shape and glazed on one side. This is a legacy from the Islamic culture, where ceramic slabs were used to cover the outside of mosques, left to the Iberian people after the Arab conquest of the Iberian Peninsula.

Oriental Gardens
During a trip to China and Japan José Berardo became enchanted by their history, culture and way of life and by the influence of the Portuguese on the Orient over 200 years. As such, the two oriental gardens are an attempt to recreate that culture, linked to Buddhism, with its respect for Nature and its highly symbolic elements.
At the entrance to the Oriental garden in the Northern area, there are two marble Fo dogs, mythical animals from the Orient usually found at the entrance to temples, acting as guards. There is a moveable ball in their half-open mouths which, according to the Chinese belief, brings good luck to those who give it one complete turn.
The decoration is based on the oriental style, and thus various pagodas may be found, originally intended to house relics or to mark a holy places.
Apart from these, the visitor may also observe Buddhist sculptures, a dragon in marble surrounded by children representing fertility, stone seats with oriental decorations, and several lanterns, also in stone.
Water is also an important decorative feature in the form of lakes and waterfalls, with miniature islands and ornamental bridges. Next to the lakes containing Koi fish, two bamboo ornaments in the shape of pipes are to be seen. When these become filled with water and it is discharged into the lake, the resulting noise, apart from frightening away the birds, represents the passing of time.
From Asia we can find a species of cycad, Cyca revolute and in both the oriental gardens we come across various tree ferns, whose lush green vegetation contrasts with the red and black of the bridges and railings.
There are also flowering plants such as the camellia, a shrub with evergreen leaves, highly valued for the number of attractive flowers that bloom, above all, in the winter and spring.

Garden Views
The Monte Tropical Garden, benefiting from a privileged position near Funchal, allows for the enjoyment of a magnificent view, within a combination of nature, culture and art.
Surrounded by the purity and tranquillity of nature, favourable to relaxation and reflection, the garden offers a display of nature, where the principle actors are the hundreds of trees, the lakes filled with Koi fish, the plants and the wide variety of flower species from different origins, the sculptures and the tiles dating from various periods providing an environment that is both welcoming and of great beauty.
Strolling along the walkways of the garden, venturing through its exuberant vegetation, in contrast with the vast range of colours of the flowers, with the bay of Funchal as a backdrop, will be an unforgettable experience.

Monte Tropical Garden
The Monte Tropical Garden is an ideal exhibition space nestled within the beautiful surroundings of a tropical garden. There are three floors, two of which are dedicated to sculptures and the third houses a unique mineral collection gathered from the four corners of the world.
The exposition entitled ‘African Passion’ shows part of a collection of contemporary Zimbabwean sculpture from the period 1966 to 1969. More than a 1000 sculptures are distributed on two floors of the museum. The top floor concentrates on individual creations, allowing the viewer time to observe the characteristics and workmanship of each artist. The second floor captures the environment in which these talented men and women work in order to create and display their sculptures to the world.
‘Mother Nature’s Secrets’, on the lower floor, proudly exhibits one of the finest private collections of minerals, predominately from Brazil, Portugal, South Africa, Zambia, Peru, Argentina and North America. From more than a 1000 specimens, around 700 have been specially chosen for display. Some specimens are displayed in hollows designed to imitate the environment in which the minerals form in the depths of our planet, whilst others are “suspended in air” to give the sensation of a planetary space where rocky masses gravitate freely. Also for your enjoyment is an exhibition of more than 300 semiprecious and precious gems, with a particular focus on diamonds, both rough and cut.

Mother Nature Secrets
Man has always been deeply fascinated by minerals and they have continued to rouse our interest as we have discovered the treasures hidden in the depths of the earth. The attraction that people feel for minerals is so strong that they have constantly searched for their polished forms since time immemorial. Since then, they have been used as personal adornments in the form of jewels, monarch’s crowns and decorations. Moved by this fascination and by a huge passion for collecting, José Berardo has spent 15 years amassing a magnificent assortment of minerals.
Determined to share yet another passion with the public, he has set up this exhibition, which consists of about 700 mineral specimens, mostly from Brazil, Portugal, South Africa, Zambia, Peru, Argentina and North America.
This exhibition boasts a vast mineral collection that excels in its association of colours, lustre and geometrical forms in a wide variety of sizes, giving the items an extraordinary beauty. There are also some excellent specimens of petrified wood.
Some of the items are displayed in hollows designed to imitate the environment in which the minerals form in the depths of our planet. Others are “suspended” in air, giving the sensation that we are entering a planetary space where rocky masses gravitate freely.
When visiting this exhibition, you should let your imagination flow and discover ‘Mother Nature’s Secrets’.

Monte Tropical Garden

Explore the Wonderful Monte Tropical Garden…
Located in Monte, a suburb of Funchal, this scenic garden is home to a rich variety of exotic plants and trees.
The Monte Tropical Garden is not the typical garden you would find in Madeira Island, yet, a visit to this garden is surely an unforgettable one.
Madeira entrepreneur José Berardo donated Monte Palace in 1988 to the Berardo Foundation and from there began his creative work phase. His dream of a Tropical garden of which he would be able to share with the world became true in 1991, when he opened the doors to his masterpiece to the public.  All the exotic plants both native and from all around the world in Berardo´s garden thrive due to Madeira´s special climate.


Within this tropical garden is the Monte Palace Museum. The Museum has three galleries and currently houses the following exhibitions:

  • African Passion
  • Mother Nature´s Secrets

 “African Passion” displays part of a collection of more than 1000 sculptures of Zimbabwean sculpture between the periods of 1966 to 1969. This exhibition is distributed throughout 2 floors of the museum.
“Mother Nature´s Secrets” is a unique collection of minerals that are predominant from Brazil, Peru, Argentina, Portugal, North America, Zambia and South Africa.

Exotic Flora and Fauna…

 

The Monte Palace Tropical Garden occupies an area of 70.000 square meters and houses an huge exotic plant’s collection, coming from all over the world, together with swans and duck’s, that populates the central lake, peacocks and chickens, that walk free in the main areas of the property.

Azaleas and Orchids from the Himalayas, Heather from Scotland, Proteceae (“protea” from South Africa) and a rare and singular Cycads collection, are just a few of thousands of species that you can find in the garden.

In the central lake, the visitor may also admire the beauty and majesty of the swans. They prefer the relatively shallow cool water of lakes and ponds as their natural habitat. Despite of being actually admired in gardens all over the world, the black swans originate from Australia, Tasmania and New Zeeland and the wild white swans have their origin in Iceland and Scandinavia.

When walking through the garden, visitors may come across with beautiful peacocks, which where brought over from the Museum / Tropical Garden of Belém (Lisbon), in March 1995, also with their descendents already born here.

In some countries these animals are regarded very highly. In India, for example, they are afforded in a special esteem and protection, either because of religious conventions or practical considerations. The fact they feed on small reptiles, some of them poisonous, is considered a sign of divinity and immortality, since it represents their immunity, and for this reason they often feature as ornaments in Hindu temples.

The peacock also as a fundamental role in the folklore of Vietnam and China, being viewed as a Messenger of peace and prosperity. Throughout Asia the peacock dance symbolises the awakening of Nature and the arrival of the monsoons and for these reasons is related to fertility.

In 2004 where introduced several chicken species, from the local nominated “palheiras” to the very well known Combat Cock from Indonesia. They have procreated and occupied several areas of Monte Palace Tropical Garden.

From time to time the visitor may see the Capped-Heron, a bird of a great stature witch, when perched in the lake, measures about one meter height. It is grey and white and has long orangey – yellow legs.

Large varieties of Koi fishes inhabit the lakes. These friendly and docile fishes come in various sizes and colours and they can live up to 100 years. These particular characteristic owned them a special respect among the oriental population.

Monte Palace Tropical Garden provides plenty of things to see. He is located on the hillside, 600 meters above the Sea, and offer stunning views of the of the Bay of Funchal city and of the Atlantic Ocean.

 

Cycads

 

One of the largest collections of cycads in the world, originating mainly from South Africa, is to be found in the Monte Palace Tropical Garden. These are often described as “living fossils” since they appeared in the Mesozoic Era, two hundred million years ago, and in one’s imagination they are related with extinct dinosaurs from the same period.

One of their peculiarities is the way in which they have evolved, without any changes in appearance, having overcome the great climatic changes and maintaining the characteristics of gymnosperms. They are plants with evergreen leaves, being dioecious (the male and female flowers occur on different plants) and they have bare flowers (without perianths), with ovules not enclosed in an ovary, but arranged in carpels, which insert themselves spirally onto an axis, forming a structure similar to a cone.

Cycads are often confused with palm trees since they both have a head of leaves and the word “cycad” itself is derived from the Greek word “cykos” meaning “similar to the palm tree”.

Cycads are part of the Cycadales Order. The three families currently in existence belong to this Order divided into 11 gender and 185 species. Monte Palace Tropical Garden has more than 700 plants belonging to roughly 60 species, planted here in 1988.

Cycads are highly sensitive plants. Their acclimatization is at times, difficult and this difficulty is intensified by their special method of reproduction

 

Koi Fish

 

One of the greatest curiosities of this garden is the existence of Koi fishes in some of the lakes. Descending from the black fish known as Magoi, it is a carp known as Cyprinus carpio. These fish originally came from East Asia, mainly from China and were introduced into Japan during the Chinese invasion, in 200 BC, at which time their colours were limited to red and grey.

In the 17th century the carps were introduced into the irrigation channels of Yamakoshi, in the poor region of Niigata in Japan, to supplement the “rice-growers” diet. Since then Koi have come a long way with the help of dedicated breeders and enthusiasts. Many species of various colours and sizes can be found in the garden lakes.

The Berardo Foundation had to follow a certain number of rules to allow the Koi to flourish. No areas of stagnant water are allowed within the layout of the Lakes. A modern filtration system was also built to ensure the survival of these friendly, docile fish which can live up to 100 years. The filtering system is composed of three elements, between them are porcelain rings, effecting the biological purification of the water using biodynamic mechanisms, thus dispensing with the use of chemical products.

The diet of these animals is made up of lettuce, prawns, wholemeal bread and floating rations rich in vitamins, mineral salts, proteins, carbohydrates and some glycosides, especially intended for their development or their pigmentation.

Branches of cedar-wood are placed where the female lays her eggs in these lakes. The eggs stick to the branches and are protected from the hungry mouths of other fish. The cedar-wood is then taken away to another lake without any fish. This phenomenon was found to have happened occasionally, when a branch of cedar-wood fell into the lake and days later was found covered with eggs.

 

Native Flora

 

In order to understand why it was so important to the Berardo Foundation to reconstruct the natural flora of Madeira in this garden we have to go back in history.

When Madeira was first settled in 1420, clearings were created for habitation by fires. This led to the legend of the seven-year fire described by Gaspar Frutuoso in his writings.

The succession of fires on the south coast and the extraction of wood to be exported to the Continent on a large scale, were facts which contributed to the devastation of the primitive forest. Added to this was the presence of herds of goats and sheep, large numbers of sugar mills and coal-burning factories.

Although parts of the Island’s vegetation survived, many of the species endemic to Madeira are still today, in danger of extinction. It was considered necessary to create an area that would accommodate species from all three altitude levels of this mountainous Island.

Examples include the dragon tree, Dracaena draco, which flowers between August and October. Its red sap called “dragon blood” was used in home remedies, in the production of paint and as varnish for violins.

Another example is the Euphorbia piscatoria, a shrub that is endemic to the archipelago of Madeira, which flowers from April to the end of May. Its scientific name is due to the fact that, in ancient times, its poisonous sap was used by fishermen to catch fish in pools of water.

The greatest number of species in this garden belongs to higher altitudes, the Laurissilva and other high altitude vegetation, some of which can adapt to different altitudes. Examples among others are the Canary Laurel, the Stinklaurel, Madeira Mahogany and flowering vegetation such as the Pride of Madeira and the Bastard Hare’s Ear.

“… The Laurissilva of Madeira is an outstanding relict of a previously widespread laurel forest type. It is the largest surviving area of laurel forest and is believed to be 90% primary forest. It contains a unique suite of plants and animals, including many endemic species such as the Madeira long-toed pigeon. …”

 

Orchids

 

In the front of the palace and under protection of cover from the sun and frost, orchids are grown. These are plants of singular beauty and diversity of shapes and colours.

They may be found in very different climatic conditions, owing to their great capacity to adapt. One of their characteristics is that the leaves have transformed into fleshly organs, authentic reservoirs of water, allowing for their survival during droughts.

The orchid belongs to the Orchidacea family, which is made up of 788 genders with around 19,000 species having been discovered, spread throughout the world, except in Antarctica.

Until the mid 17th century the orchid was used in medicine for the most part. It was their later cultivation in Europe which gave impetus to the decorative use, since when cultivated they adapt to a large variety of situations, with different growth habits, shapes and colours.

 

Oriental Gardens

 

During a trip to China and Japan José Berardo became enchanted by their history, culture and way of life and by the influence of the Portuguese on the Orient over 200 years. As such, the two oriental gardens are an attempt to recreate that culture, linked to Buddhism, with its respect for Nature and its highly symbolic elements.

At the entrance to the Oriental garden in the Northern area, there are two marble Fo dogs, mythical animals from the Orient usually found at the entrance to temples, acting as guards. There is a moveable ball in their half-open mouths which, according to the Chinese belief, brings good luck to those who give it one complete turn.

The decoration is based on the oriental style, and thus various pagodas may be found, originally intended to house relics or to mark a holy places.

Apart from these, the visitor may also observe Buddhist sculptures, a dragon in marble surrounded by children representing fertility, stone seats with oriental decorations, and several lanterns, also in stone.

Water is also an important decorative feature in the form of lakes and waterfalls, with miniature islands and ornamental bridges. Next to the lakes containing Koi fish, two bamboo ornaments in the shape of pipes are to be seen. When these become filled with water and it is discharged into the lake, the resulting noise, apart from frightening away the birds, represents the passing of time.

From Asia we can find a species of cycad, Cyca revolute and in both the oriental gardens we come across various tree ferns, whose lush green vegetation contrasts with the red and black of the bridges and railings.

There are also flowering plants such as the camellia, a shrub with evergreen leaves, highly valued for the number of attractive flowers that bloom, above all, in the winter and spring.

 

Ceramic Tiles

 

One of the most interesting characteristics of the Monte Palace Tropical Garden is the existence of a large collection of tile panels placed along the walkways and amongst the vegetation acquired by José Berardo, under the specialist direction of Manuel Leitão.

This collection, considered to be one of the most important in the country after that of the National Tile Museum, is made up of Hispano-Moorish tiles of the 15th and 16th centuries and panels produced in Portugal from the 19th to the 20th centuries.

The examples on exhibition are representative of the decorations used in the various eras, originating from palaces, churches, chapels and residences in various localities in Portugal and they depict social, cultural and religious events, remarkable at they’re time, and important to Portuguese History.

The term “azulejaria” is used to define a branch of ceramics with decorative themes, its products being used to cover the surfaces of walls and floors, among others.

The word “azulejo” derives from the Arabic al-zuleycha which means “small stone” and defines a ceramic piece which is square in shape and glazed on one side. This is a legacy from the Islamic culture, where ceramic slabs were used to cover the outside of mosques, left to the Iberian people after the Arab conquest of the Iberian Peninsula.

 

Oriental Gardens

 

During a trip to China and Japan José Berardo became enchanted by their history, culture and way of life and by the influence of the Portuguese on the Orient over 200 years. As such, the two oriental gardens are an attempt to recreate that culture, linked to Buddhism, with its respect for Nature and its highly symbolic elements.

At the entrance to the Oriental garden in the Northern area, there are two marble Fo dogs, mythical animals from the Orient usually found at the entrance to temples, acting as guards. There is a moveable ball in their half-open mouths which, according to the Chinese belief, brings good luck to those who give it one complete turn.

The decoration is based on the oriental style, and thus various pagodas may be found, originally intended to house relics or to mark a holy places.

Apart from these, the visitor may also observe Buddhist sculptures, a dragon in marble surrounded by children representing fertility, stone seats with oriental decorations, and several lanterns, also in stone.

Water is also an important decorative feature in the form of lakes and waterfalls, with miniature islands and ornamental bridges. Next to the lakes containing Koi fish, two bamboo ornaments in the shape of pipes are to be seen. When these become filled with water and it is discharged into the lake, the resulting noise, apart from frightening away the birds, represents the passing of time.

From Asia we can find a species of cycad, Cyca revolute and in both the oriental gardens we come across various tree ferns, whose lush green vegetation contrasts with the red and black of the bridges and railings.

There are also flowering plants such as the camellia, a shrub with evergreen leaves, highly valued for the number of attractive flowers that bloom, above all, in the winter and spring.

 

           

Garden Views

 

The Monte Palace Tropical Garden, benefiting from a privileged position near Funchal, allows for the enjoyment of a magnificent view, within a combination of nature, culture and art.

Surrounded by the purity and tranquillity of nature, favourable to relaxation and reflection, the garden offers a display of nature, where the principle actors are the hundreds of trees, the lakes filled with Koi fish, the plants and the wide variety of flower species from different origins, the sculptures and the tiles dating from various periods providing an environment that is both welcoming and of great beauty.

Strolling along the walkways of the garden, venturing through its exuberant vegetation, in contrast with the vast range of colours of the flowers, with the bay of Funchal as a backdrop, will be an unforgettable experience.

 

Monte Tropical Garden

 

The Monte Tropical Garden is an ideal exhibition space nestled within the beautiful surroundings of a tropical garden. There are three floors, two of which are dedicated to sculptures and the third houses a unique mineral collection gathered from the four corners of the world.

The exposition entitled ‘African Passion’ shows part of a collection of contemporary Zimbabwean sculpture from the period 1966 to 1969. More than a 1000 sculptures are distributed on two floors of the museum. The top floor concentrates on individual creations, allowing the viewer time to observe the characteristics and workmanship of each artist. The second floor captures the environment in which these talented men and women work in order to create and display their sculptures to the world.

‘Mother Nature’s Secrets’, on the lower floor, proudly exhibits one of the finest private collections of minerals, predominately from Brazil, Portugal, South Africa, Zambia, Peru, Argentina and North America. From more than a 1000 specimens, around 700 have been specially chosen for display. Some specimens are displayed in hollows designed to imitate the environment in which the minerals form in the depths of our planet, whilst others are “suspended in air” to give the sensation of a planetary space where rocky masses gravitate freely. Also for your enjoyment is an exhibition of more than 300 semiprecious and precious gems, with a particular focus on diamonds, both rough and cut.

 

Mother Nature Secrets

 

Man has always been deeply fascinated by minerals and they have continued to rouse our interest as we have discovered the treasures hidden in the depths of the earth. The attraction that people feel for minerals is so strong that they have constantly searched for their polished forms since time immemorial. Since then, they have been used as personal adornments in the form of jewels, monarch’s crowns and decorations. Moved by this fascination and by a huge passion for collecting, José Berardo has spent 15 years amassing a magnificent assortment of minerals.

Determined to share yet another passion with the public, he has set up this exhibition, which consists of about 700 mineral specimens, mostly from Brazil, Portugal, South Africa, Zambia, Peru, Argentina and North America.

This exhibition boasts a vast mineral collection that excels in its association of colours, lustre and geometrical forms in a wide variety of sizes, giving the items an extraordinary beauty. There are also some excellent specimens of petrified wood.

Some of the items are displayed in hollows designed to imitate the environment in which the minerals form in the depths of our planet. Others are “suspended” in air, giving the sensation that we are entering a planetary space where rocky masses gravitate freely.

When visiting this exhibition, you should let your imagination flow and discover ‘Mother Nature’s Secrets’.

 

Official page: http://montepalace.com/desktop/

Monte Tropical Garden

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