March 1, 2012
Guest blog by Oliver Broad, Chairman of AITO Specialist Travel Agents. Oliver recently travelled to the Portuguese island of Madeira to finalise plans for the AITO and AITO Agents combined overseas conference, being held on the island from 14-17 June 2012. During his trip, he was particularly fascinated by what local artists have done to doors in Madeira’s capital, Funchal…
Until now, my only experience with Madeira to date had been selling it quite regularly to clients who would happily return to the same hotel year after year. Madeira is well known as a repeat-visitor destination, but the island has recently put into place new initiatives to appeal to a wider audience, including those in the 30+ age bracket.
Being just a tad over 30 myself, this intrigued me, so I was keen to learn more when I visited the area for the first time in February.
I was pleasantly surprised. Highlights of Madeira include its levadas (former irrigation channels), which form a network of beautiful walking trails across the island, as well as its fortified wines and fabulous gastronomy. However, I found myself most taken aback by the colourful artwork that adorned the doors of the old town in Funchal.
A few years ago, locals started to use the front doors of the old town’s streets as canvases for their artwork. These properties are still lived in as homes and working businesses but the move has created an outdoor museum of sorts. Just as artists have made their imprint on derelict buildings in the heart of Lisbon, so too have the locals here, mixing traditional and modern artistic techniques with fantastic results.