City Hall (Casa del Ayuntamiento)
Madrid’s Casa del Ayuntamiento served as the city’s town hall between 1696 and 2007. It was designed by famous architect Juan Gómez de Mora in the 1640s but wasn’t completed until 1696, well after his death. The building dominates the Plaza de la Villa in one of Madrid’s oldest quarters, Los Austrias.
Wander the plaza and admire the building’s ornate façade and the statue of Admiral Álvaro de Bazán in the square out front. You’ll notice two separate entrances to the Ayuntamiento. In centuries past one led to administrative areas while the other served as the entrance to a prison that operated in half of the building for several decades.
Drop by on Monday evening for a free guided tour of the interior. Tours are in both Spanish and English and give visitors a glimpse of its four most impressive rooms. Stare at the frescoes of Antonio Palomino that cover the ceiling of the Plenary Meeting Hall. The room is furnished with the seats of council members and is decorated in an elaborate mixture of 17th, 18th, and 19th century styles.
Move on to the Atrium of Crystals. The stained-glass skylight depicts the city’s coat of arms and the Puerta de Alcalá. Look around the atrium to see busts of famous Spanish authors. Walk through to the Reception Hall, where you’ll see an enormous chandelier confiscated from a monastery, as well as a pair of vases given to Spain by France and several other artworks. The tour finishes up in the Hall of the Carreta, where there are portraits of the city’s mayors from throughout the ages.
City Hall is easily accessible from Plaza Mayor or the Royal Palace. The closest metro stations are Ópera and Puerta del Sol.