The 17th-century Casa de la Villa (old town hall), on the western side of the Plaza de la Villa, is a typical Habsburg edifice with Herrerian slate-tiled spires. First planned as a prison in 1644 by Juan Gómez de Mora, who also designed the Convento de la Encarnación, its granite and brick facade is a study in sobriety.
The final touches to the Casa de la Villa were made in 1693, although Juan de Villanueva, of Museo del Prado fame, made some alterations a century later. The interior was closed to the public at the time of research, which is a real pity as the Salón del Pleno (council chambers) were restored in the 1890s and again in 1986; the decoration is sumptuous neoclassical with late-17th-century ceiling frescoes. Ask at the Centro de Turismo de Madrid to see if the guided tours have resumed. If they have look for the ceramic copy of Pedro Teixeira’s landmark 1656 map of Madrid just outside the chambers.