A superb colonial-era palacio stands at QUEPEM, half an hour’s drive southeast of Margao on the fringes of the state’s iron-ore belt. In 1787, a high-ranking member of the Portuguese clergy, Father José Paulo de Almeida, built a country house in the town. Known as the Palacio do Deão it grew to become one of the most grandiloquent in the colony, later served as a retreat for the colony’s Viceroys. The palacio was recently restored to its former glory by a Goan couple who scoured libraries in Lisbon for original plans of the building. What you see today is thus a faithful approximation of how the house would have looked in José Paulo’s day. The engaging guided tour lasts around half an hour, winding up on the lovely rear terrace overlooking the river where, by prior arrangement, you can enjoy a copious Indo-Portuguese lunch (Rs450) – an experience not be missed.