The intimate Plaza de la Villa is one of Madrid’s prettiest. Enclosed on three sides by wonderfully preserved examples of 17th-century barroco madrileño (Madrid-style baroque architecture: a pleasing amalgam of brick, exposed stone and wrought iron), it was the permanent seat of Madrid’s city government from the Middle Ages until recent years when Madrid’s city council relocated to the grand Palacio de Comunicaciones on Plaza de la Cibeles.
On the western side of the square is the 17th-century former ayuntamiento (town hall), in Habsburg-style baroque with Herrerian slate-tile spires. On the opposite side of the square is the Gothic Casa de los Lujanes , whose brickwork tower is said to have been ‘home’ to the imprisoned French monarch François I after his capture in the Battle of Pavia (1525). The plateresque (15th- and 16th-century Spanish baroque) Casa de Cisneros , built in 1537 with later Renaissance alterations, also catches the eye.