Time Out says
Right in C/Mayor, very close to the Royal Palace and in front of the Plaza de la Villa, stands the Italian Institute of Culture. In addition to being a beautiful space where you can sign up for Italian classes or have a coffee in the cafeteria with designer chairs (Italian, of course), it's a palace in its own right. If you take a moment in the nearby alley, under glass you can see the remains of what was the first parish of the Villa de Madrid, found in 1998; the church of Nuestra Señora de la Almudena, germ of the cathedral you see today. In the mid-17th century, on the site where the first houses along the city walls once stood, the original palace, designed by Juan Maza, had several owners and went through many renovations until it became a luxurious and elegant palace that, in the late-19th century, became the Italian embassy. In fact, since it was a territory of Italy, it was able to escape the censorship of the Franco dictatorship and could programme events that were difficult to schedule elsewhere at the time. In the late-19th century, Italian decorators Grandi and Passeti took over the space, and left their mark on it, with frescoes that survive to this day on the façade, beneath the wooden aileron. The imperial staircase remained intact, but the rest of the building, not surprisingly, was modernised. Today, among the Italian glamour and the activities offered, visitors to the building are surrounded by life and beauty on all sides.
Calle Mayor, 86
|Transport:||Sol (M: L1, L2, L3), Ópera (M: L2, Ramal)|