First-time visitors to Rome can often be shocked by the amount of graffiti in the streets. Regrettably most of it is low-quality tagging, and in some areas it is like a plague, sometimes even affecting ancient buildings. On many subway trains, and in areas such as San Lorenzo and Pigneto, there is sometimes more ugly tagging visible than there is wall.
The good news is that there is also some extremely high quality street art in the city. Famously in 2016, renowned street artist ‘Maupal’ depicted the Pope as a graffiti artist himself, painting a tic-tac-toe board while a member of the Swiss Guard stood lookout. Sadly the city council – the Comune of Rome – didn’t see the funny side and had it painted over the next day.
There are also several areas that have the work of bona fide, high quality street and graffiti artists. Hidden in San Lorenzo and Pigneto there are works that have significant quality if you take the time to look, and in other areas such as Garbatella there is street art that has genuine artistic merit.
In particular, there is one part of Rome in which the Comune of Rome has not only allowed but encouraged street art to flourish – in an official capacity – and the result is truly stunning. Tor Marancia, a formerly run-down housing project, has been rejuvenated by street art. This poverty-stricken area of government housing, in conjunction with the Comune of Rome’s ‘Big City Life’ project, has had one painting made on each end of each block, painted by street artists from all over the world, resulting in a truly breathtaking experience. Each piece has a plaque identifying the artist and title, and visitors are free to wander through the now rejuvenated housing estate to view the art. A location map provided at the bottom of this page. Click any of the images below to expand them
Urban walks in Rome
How to get there:
Metro: Garbatella, San Paolo (Line B, 20-25 minute walk) Bus: 671, 160, 714, 130F