|Venue name:||Palácio dos Marqueses de Fronteira|
Lg S Domingos de Benfica, 1
|Opening hours:||Guided tours (palace and garden) June-Sept 10.30am, 11am, 11.30am, noon Mon-Sat|
|Price:||Tours €7.50; free under-14s. Gardens €3; free under-14s|
The idyllic setting of this palace, at the foot of Monsanto Forest Park, is in sharp contrast to the concrete jungle of Sete Rios, across the railway tracks. The palace was built for the Mascarenhas family, who still own it. Jesuit super-missionary St Francis Xavier is supposed to have said mass in the chapel before leaving for India in 1541. Most of the palace was put up in the 1670s, then rebuilt after the 1755 Earthquake. Its Sala das Batalhas is decorated with 17th-century azulejos depicting battles against Spain during the War of Restoration (1640-68), while the rest of the halls, courtyards and gardens are full of statuary. You may visit the garden independently but the palace is only accessible with a guided tour. Tours last about an hour; arrive a few minutes early.