The words ‘Rome’ and ‘art’ are practically synonymous. From gorgeous Renaissance frescos to ancient Roman architecture, the Eternal City is awash with beauty, magic and… graffiti. That’s right: graffiti. Over the last few years, Rome has seen an explosion of street art, a cultural Hiroshima that has laid waste to old notions of what the city is and can be. Here we run down 15 of our favourite examples from this brand new tradition – from the deeply absurd to the truly sublime:
This example of the two-man Italian collective RO.BO.COOP’s signature style is a cheeky meditation on the history of art in Rome, not to mention its future. Across the city, duplicates of classic paintings with added surgical masks have been cropping up on every surface, to the bemusement of tourists and the delight of locals. What does it all mean? Who knows?
USA, Italian Style
A far blunter message can be found in works like the one above – drawing on the disgruntlement of ordinary Italians with the world’s leading superpower. As a piece of ‘right on’ political posturing, it’s almost self-parody – although the underlying message remains chillingly relevant.
However, not all street art need have a message, as the colourful creation above so aptly demonstrates. Like an escaped Manga character come to seek its fortune along Rome’s hallowed streets, the figure is by turns beguiling, cute and deeply strange.