One of Madrid’s most beautiful and historic squares, the tiny Plaza de la Villa holds
some of the city’s oldest surviving buildings. The plaza has been the site of city government since medieval times, and
the
Casa de la Villa, the old town hall, is located here. The original medieval structure was rebuilt in Renaissance style
in 1645 and modified again when Madrid Baroque became the rage. Next door,
Casa Cisneros, built in 1537 in
Plateresque style, was once the home of the nephew of Cardinal Cisneros. Opposite stands the
Casa de los Lujanes, a

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15th-century Mudéjar Gothic manor house, one of Madrid’s oldest buildings. It is said that the French king Francis I
was held here after his capture at the battle of Pavia in 1525. When he declined to bow to Spain’s Carlos V, the door of
the tower was lowered, forcing him to bend. Unfortunately, it is currently only possible to admire these buildings from
the outside. The Casa de la Villa, which still houses local government offices, used to be open for visits on Mondays at
5pm, but at the time of writing, it was closed for restoration. Check www.esmadrid.com for reopening details, or ask
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the guards at the door.