Madrid's main square since the 16th century, the Plaza Mayor's strongest features are its red arcades, its equestrian statue of Philip III, and the Casa de la Panaderia, recognisable by the frescoes that decorate its facade.
Three engineering architects built this stunning monument. In the late 16th century, Philip II commissioned Juan de Herrera, the hidalgo of the architectural style that bears his name—the strict ‘herreriano'—to draw up the plans for the Plaza. Then Juan Gómez de Mora, of much more baroque sensibility, created the square. Finally, after its partial destruction as a result of a fire, the hugely talented neoclassicist Juan de Villanueva gave it its present appearance. This is where the fires of the Inquisition were stoked, and corridas, beatifications, and coronations took place.
Today, it is a quiet square, populated by terraces, where you will dream, with delight, of swordsmen…