Basket carts, as the Monte carts are also known, or basket carts, are typical of the Madeira and, like the Christmas Cribs, its notable ex-libris. They go down from Monte to Funchal, guided by specialists, the Monte footpaths. Just take the cable car from Funchal to get there and enjoy a stunning journey down the hill.
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Hill Carts or Wooden Basket Carts
Monte carts appeared in the middle of the XNUMXth century.
Until 1846 there is no reference to this means of transport by visitors to Madeira and, instead, they refer to the existence of small “corsas” that are used to transport people.
Corsas and corsões (larger corsas) were used to transport cargo, they are built with two strong and parallel timbers, to which smaller timbers are joined, forming a kind of sled, about 3 meters long and half a meter wide. .
In order for the corsas to slide more easily along the paths, tallow was placed wherever they passed.
So the deer glided well, but for people it was difficult to walk, particularly when it rained, because the path was slippery.
At the beginning of the XNUMXth century, the ox cart was used, inspired by the cart from the northeastern mainland and the Madeiran horse, adapted to transport people.
It was the most used means of public transport in Funchal and in the Fajãs.
On the steepest slopes it was not possible to use these means and the drag carts, now called basket carts, are then prepared with a seat for two people, they became the most used.
These “basket cars” are now very famous and one of the major tourist attractions on Madeira Island.
As they descend from Monte, the Madeirans call them Monte carts.
Handmade, they use wicker for the basket and wood for the skates.
Currently the two seats are cushioned, making the vertiginous descent down the street more comfortable.
What are the Carreiros do Monte
The two men who drive the basket cars are the Monte carters, who are dressed in the same way as in the old drag cars, with white pants, tea boots and straw hats, as is typical in the Region.
The boots that the carters wear have rubber soles and act as the car's brakes.
The mind-boggling journey between Monte and Livramento takes about 10 minutes and covers approximately 2 km, reaching a speed of 80 km / hr.
The Carros de Cesto do Monte are recognized today as intangible cultural heritage of Madeira Island.
Trip on the Monte carts with moments of emotion
Watch this short film and have fun.
Funchal cable car to reach the top of Monte
We can reach Monte by taking the cable car. This is the option we recommend as it allows us to appreciate all the beauty of this natural amphitheater.
The trip on the Funchal cable car is, in itself, an attraction not to be missed.
In order to plan your ride on Monte's carts, here's a map of the location that you can zoom in on, zoom out on and move around.
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