Trip to the Straw Houses
A tour from Funchal to Camacha and to the Santo da Serra, via Faial and Santana with their typical cottages, masterpieces of folk architecture.Going up the road from Funchal, in a northeasterly direction, one reaches the village of Camacha, which in times used to be a Summer resort for wealthy Funchal residents. Today its greatest interest lies in the observation of Camacha' artisanal production of wicker objects, crafted by the people in small workshops or in their homes, sometimes by the road. The sale of these items to tourists is one of the local economic incomes. Here the road follows the winding route of the Levada da Serra.
Then, via Águas Mansas and João Frino, a rural village, one arrives at the Santo da Serra, where we also can see many farms and a holiday tradition - see the Quinta Santo, near the central area of the parish, with abundant flora and fauna. Next, on the road, is the viewpoint of Portela, with wide views over the northeast coast of the island, with the high promontory of Penha da Águia, which separates the towns of Porto da Cruz and Faial, a remarkable landscaping series, with houses down the rural, wooded slopes.
The Porto da Cruz has a tradition of manufacturing, with production of cane sugar. Even today there is a factory still operating (sugarcane liquor) and are visible the chimneys and buildings belonging to a world of industrial archeology. Skirting the Penha de Águia, passing the river (with its bridge destroyed by floods 20 years ago), we get to Faial, 15 kilometers after Porto da Cruz.. We go up now to Santana, passing by a viewpoint with a view over the whole long coast line northeast to the S. Lourenço point, with many cliffs. Very fragmented farmlands, protected by hedges of bamboo, and sometimes with their traditional houses with thatched cover, offer unique features to the local landscape.
Continuing to São Jorge, further northwest, we find some examples of traditional housing ("Casa das Proteas", in the site of Felpa and, later, "Quinta do Arco", in Lagoa, in Arco de São Jorge).