Infante Gardens

South of Largo do Pelourinho, an avenue of palms leads through the small Infante Gardens, where there’s a children’s playground and a statue of Christopher Columbus – the latter a complete exercise of the imagination, as no confirmed portrait of him exists. The two other sculptures in the garden commemorate the Voyages of Discovery, and the hardy Boatmen of Porto Santo, who over the years have wrested a living from the sea, ferried islanders to Madeira, and saved lives in storms. Besides the playground, you can also see an old drinking fountain. Such fountains, most dating from the 19th century, are dotted all over the island. The tangy water they spout is high in calcium, and said to be good for kidney ailments. Porto Santo once bottled and sold its water – about 200 meters west along the main road you can see the former water-bottling factory, an imposing building with a castle-like lower storey.

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