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Rome

Street Art in Rome: Testaccio, Quadraro, San Lorenzo

Art is coming out of galleries and frames, ready to spread into the streets and live among the people.

Rome is gorgeous and everybody knows it. What you might not know is that her beauty is not just about classical art, Renaissance and museums. Being it the “eternal city”, it was simply natural for it to follow the latest artistic trends. Something new is happening around here. Art is coming out of galleries and frames, ready to spread into the streets and live among the people. Art is now made of everyday life tales to be told to everyone who wants to get carried away by them.

This brand new artistic concept is known as Street Art and it is bringing new life to the Italian artistic panorama. Walls all over the city have been covered with Street Art artworks. This has turned some areas into real open-air museums, especially some peripheral and almost abandoned ones.

Almost 150 streets have been painted, more than 330 artworks have been made through the years. Between January and February only, 40 wall paintings have been made around Rome within “Roma Creativa” project (“Creative Rome”, literally), a public project by Rome’s Cultural and Touristic Department aimed at revaluating a few disreputable areas and fostering local artists. 

The town council itself has recently released a map of the best places to go and discover Rome’s Street art. It covers 13 districts and goes from the most central and historical ones, like Testaccio for example, to the most peripheral ones, like San Basilio or Tor Bella Monaca. Very useful tools support this map, like a user-friendly app to constantly upgrade it and a Google Cultural Institute mapping. To find it all out abut the itinerary, just go to the town hall website or at least just Google it… It is the answer to everything.

If you are an old-fashioned person and you do not want to use the Internet, good for you. We want award your spirit of adventure with a few tips on where to go, you just need to get yourself a paper map.

  1. Quadraro

Quadraro is now living its rebirth and Street Art is flourishing there. This is also thanks to David Daivù Vecchiato’s M.U.Ro. project (Museo Urbano Roma, Rome’s Urban Museum). It was raised from the bottom, created just through the collaboration between street artists and the neighbourhood and with no public or private loans at all. The museum highlight is maybe Lucamaleonte’s tribute to Quadraro’s anti-fascist past. “Nido di Vespe” (“the wasps’ nest”) was born in memory of a terrible slaughter happened there in 1944, and owns its name to how Quadraro itself used to be called at that time.

street art in roma

  1. Ostiense

Thanks to Ostiense District project, Ostiense has become Street Art number one place in Rome. Several international artists have taken part in it, turning Ostiense’s life completely upside down. The best wall paintings are in the area between Piramide and San Paolo. Ostiense’s post-industrial atmosphere has turned this area into the best place for street artists to express themselves. Walking through Via del Porto Fluviale, you may find a huge rainbow of multicolour faces by Blu, perhaps the Italian top street artist of the moment. The artwork is a sort of colourful welcome message for immigrants and refugees.

  1. Testaccio

Testaccio is very close to Ostiense and maybe it has absorbed all its street art flow, since it houses a lot of stunning wall paintings. The nicest piece to see might be the “Jumping Wolf” by ROA, a Belgian artist drawing black a white local animals as his trademark. Have you ever seen those little statues with a wolf feeding two little twins? Everyone sells them in Rome, of course you have. Well, knowing that it is not about a creepy perversion for animals might surprise you now. The female wolf is the symbol of the city and her story is full of historical and heroic implications, and in the painting it has nothing to do with the typical idea people have of the legendary symbol of Rome. What strikes your attention is exactly how ordinary the animal seems. This makes it all really expressive, really impressive.

  1. San Lorenzo

It has probably been the first outpost for Street Art in Rome, as it is a student area and this makes the artistic atmosphere very stimulating. One of the best wall paintings in Rome is right here, Rome’s everyday life scenes with kids playing all over. It is an artwork by Alice Pasquini, one of the latest revelations on both national and international artistic panorama.

  1. Trullo

Full of history and art since years and years, Trullo is now coming back into the limelight. It is a stronghold of Rome’s Street Art mostly thanks to what is usually called “Metroromanticismo”, in English “urban romanticism” more or less. It is a sort of re-interpretation of romantic ideas transferred to a completely contemporary urban context. There are those romantic street poets writing their urban poetries on the walls. It is like a bohemian and underground blow at the same time, all in the historical scenery of Rome. Sounds like the best nonsense, but perfect mix ever.

Pizza and mandolino are evergreens, no doubt. Anyway, Italian great beauty goes far beyond stereotypical and mainstream ideas. If you feel underground enough to face this challenge, you should not miss the chance to explore Rome from an unconventional point of view.

5th May 2017