Street Art Welcomed In The Eternal City

For travelers, the city of Rome, Italy is a magnificent expanse that boasts some of the most precious art in the world. This is reflected in the blending of ancient Roman architecture with sleek, modern design throughout the city. And up until recently, an art form that was placed in a dubious light hadn’t been considered welcome. However, a new initiative seems to add to the changing of that perception.

This past Thursday, local tourism authorities from the suburbs of Rome made a public statement to announce a new artistic initiative taking place. These neighborhoods, in addition to others within the city, are to be part of an ‘alternative tourism capital’ with the central focus on street art. This marks a distinct change in attitude towards street art on the behalf of the city; in the past, Rome had regarded street art as a blight upon its architecture, especially when graffiti was found on the Colosseum. As Rome’s City Councilor for Culture Giovanna Marinelli stated, “With the funding for this project, Rome is increasingly turning into an open-air museum. We are mapping the entire city to create a new tourist itinerary that in a way that places value on street art and the new languages of culture in the capital.”

For example, there are now currently up to 40 different mural installations from street artists that have gone up within the past two months. The installations vary in size and complexity of the structure. One art installation involves a gasometer that is considered a landmark in the Ostiense neighborhood in the southern suburbs. Another mural that’s located at the entrance of the Rebibbia metro station in the northeast part of the city is an homage to the late singer & songwriter Fabrizio de Andre. A mural done by three street artists within the Tor Pignattara suburb is a graffiti-styled examination of the way the diverse neighborhood came to exist and a celebration of that diversity. This initiative is a stark contrast to Rome’s previous fixation on their idea that only honored ancient art, and could signal another cultural renaissance that will attract tourists by the hundreds.