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Crumbling Palaces of the Portugese Heyday Ready for a Revamp

Portugal, despite its small size and out of the way location on the Iberian peninsula, was once a major world power, commanding a fleet that circumnavigated the globe and returned bearing riches from far off lands. Some of those riches found their way into grand palaces and private mansions near Lisbon, which, nowadays, are generally falling into disrepair. The Quinta do Marquês, a 17th-century stone castle in the Torres Novas neighborhood of Lisbon, features 20 bedrooms, 10 bathrooms, manicured gardens, and lavish local tile work, but it's still rough around the edges, in need of paint and some general landscaping. Judging the total cost of such a project is made particularly difficult by the fact that this Portugese estate is listed as "price upon request."

? This 18,000-square-foot palace, also in Lisbon, offers up even more bedrooms, 24, than the last place, but claims just three bathrooms. That fact, combined with less-than-revealing interior photographs and some overgrown gardens, suggests that Quinta das Águias is in need of a full renovation. Once again, the price is "upon request," though a UK property website estimates the price at almost $29M.

? Other, even older, properties have fared better. Like this broad, tile-roofed manor located outside of Lisbon in the town of Loures. On the market for $10.2M, the house, known as Quinta de Santa Maria, was built in 1677 and has either been very dutifully maintained since or, more likely, recently restored. Awash in white-and-blue Portugese tile, the estate boasts remarkable gardens and a terraced swimming pool.

? The 15-bedroom Palace Pinteus is also priced around $10M, was also built in the 17th century, but has a unique and distinguished history. Visited by the Portugese king João V on his many trips to a nearby monastery, the home later became a haven for the Portugese literati, before being fully restored by the previous owner, a famous fadista. Today, the revamped palace houses 15 bedrooms, six baths, and enjoys a glorious pink facade.

? Built in 1911 by the Brazilian millionaire Benedita de Mello Alves Nogueira, the aptly named Palácio de São Paulo is dramatically set on a cliffside overlooking the seaside town of Cascais, some 19 miles west of Lisbon. In 2006, the property was renovated with several modern additions, including a glass railing to maximize the sea view, huge single-pane windows, and a pool-level spa. Currently the price is available only on request, though one can rest assured this 10-bedroom seaside villa will trade for many, many millions.

· Quinta do Marquês [Sotheby's]
· Quinta das Águias [Sotheby's]
· Lisbon palace to restore [Country Life UK]
· Original architecture and adapted for modern living [Luxury Portfolio]
· Palace Pinteus [Luxury Portfolio]
· Palácio de São Paulo [Sotheby's]