Best Street Art in Rome | Local’s Guide

In this article, we’ll discover the places and the creators of street art in Rome, Italy.

Along with offering a comprehensive list, I’ ll share with you the story of street art in Rome and useful information about the context where you’ll find it.

Some of these street artists have become so popular that they have made it to the news and have a huge online following. One of them, BLU, is one of the most popular mural artists in the world.

I’m quite resistant to looking at street art merely from a social perspective or to seeing it as a way of making more bearable the terrible architecture of public housing.

Urban art is indeed the expression of those living on the edges, in the suburbs, but there is much more to it. 

street art in the Primavalle neighborhood
Graffiti by Solo in the Primavalle neighborhood of Rome

My experience of Rome’s street art

I really enjoyed going street art hunting in my hometown, Rome, for the sake of this article. What has always impressed me about the murals in my city is the unique way they interact with the observer, with passersby.

You walk the same route to work or grocery shopping every day with your gaze fixed in front of you. You no longer pay attention to the buildings and the street. 

And all of a sudden there’s an artwork of art in front of you, a surprise, waking you up from the slumber of routine. 

And for the beholder this art is free.

Street art in Rome outskirts: some considerations

During your time in Rome, you’ll see that there are different historical layers with most of Rome’s monuments: Pre-Roman, Roman, Medieval, Renaissance, and so on.

And yet, to see the most recent level, you have to go away from the historical center to those places where just a few decades ago there were lawns and countryside.

Now Rome’s outskirts host thousands of apartment buildings. Too many of those buildings are the result of unauthorized construction. You’ll see houses deprived of any aesthetic sense, rather appalling cement structures.

It’s on the walls of the off-the-beaten-path Rome that you’ll find street art.

Street art makes them more visible. It pushes you to direct your glance at them and remember that those districts ARE Rome.

Those ugly, overpopulated houses are a big part of the metropolis that Rome is. And if you want to know Rome better, you just can’t go past them anymore.

TIP:  There are a few street art tours in Rome that you can take with a local guide. 

They will show you around the neighborhoods and share the stories behind the artworks.

The best street art walking tour available is this. 
rome street art guide
My favorite murals in Rome | Tor Marancia open-air museum

Street art inside the ex-mental hospital Santa Maria della Pietà

I put this place at the top of the list because I grew up a couple of hundred meters from there.

The “Ex-Manicomio” was once a public mental institution dating back to the 16th century. The mentally infirm were treated in the most shameful ways and the horror hospital was shut down in 1978 eventually.

The structure of the place is that of a “city inside the city”: a 130-hectare park with roads, a church, houses, and a canteen. Most of the buildings are abandoned and decaying. All around the buildings is a large park with a running track. Hospital workers and mentally ill patients used to live there.

When the place was abandoned, political conflict arose with regard to giving it a new life. In the last 20 years, associations of volunteers have worked to maintain the decor of the park.

Some of the apartments have been occupied by young people. The Ex-Laundry, an incredible intercultural center that offers courses and manages a small café, was born (and unfortunately, shut during the pandemic).

The past of the ex-mental house is remembered inside the “Museum of the Mind.”

Local street artists have passed by and spontaneously decorated many of the obsolete buildings with beautiful art. Sometimes, their murals deal with mental illness, as in the case of the artworks by artist Luis Gomez de Teran.

The place, rather than being macabre, now has its charm. Take a walk inside the icon of this neighborhood on the north-western outskirts of Rome. Murals emerge from concrete like elves. Pine trees create a pleasant shade. The art is vibrant here and will surprise you.

Address: Piazzale Santa Maria della Pietà

Directions: from the subway station Valle Aurelia, take a train going to Bracciano, La Storta, or Viterbo, and get off at Stazione Monte Mario. Then walk to Piazza Santa Maria della Pietà, where one of the lesser-known free parks in Rome is located.

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Mural on the walls of the Museum of the Mind (ex-mental hospital) | street art in Rome Italy
art in the Ex-mental house in Rome, Italy
Violetta Carpino | Art of the Ex-mental hospital in the Monte Mario neighborhood

Tor Marancia street art

This is the most impressive street art project in Rome so far. The curator is a non-profit cultural foundation that financed the creation of an open-air museum on 22 of the walls of a public housing block on Tor Marancia St.

The origin of this suburb dates back to the ’20s. Because of the opening of the huge Via Della Conciliazione street, the inhabitants were forced to relocate to simple stilt houses in a suburb that the locals nicknamed “Shanghai.”

A few decades later, apartment blocks replaced the wretched houses.

Big City Life” is the official name of the Residential Museum of Tor Marancia. It appeared in 2015 and represented a huge difference for the residents, that are the true “owners” of the museum. 

Everyone can visit the street art open-air museum for free, accessing the block from the road.

Artists that took part in the project are renowned internationally: Vhils, Jaz, Gaia, Moneyless, Pantonio, Satone, Guido Val Helten, Matteo Basilé, Diamond, Albernero, Danilo Bucchi, Domenico Romeo, and Jerico to name a few.

Their artwork is stunning.

The project participated in the Venice Biennale.

Address: Viale di Tor MArancia, 63

How to reach the open-air museum in Tor Marancia:

from the Stazione Termini, take subway line B towards Laurentina. Get off at Garbatella. Walk for about 20-minute to Viale di Tor Marancia, 63.

More places where you’ll find the best street art in Rome

These are other neighborhoods where you can find amazing street art in Rome

Street art of the San Basilio district

The art here inhabits the public housing of one of the biggest suburbs of Rome. Location:

  • Parco Giulietto Minna
  • Via Maiolati
street artists in Rome
Wall by Liqen | San Basilio, Rome

Street art in the Ostiense district

This neighborhood hosts the faculties of the University Roma Tre, therefore it is alive with young people and restaurants. It is a nice area to spend the evening in Rome for young adults and to explore on foot.

Besides having looking at murals, you could spend some time in two of the best cafes in Rome (Caffè Letterario and Romeow Cat Bistrot). 

Cafeterias and restaurants that abound near the crossing of Porto Fluviale St. and Ostiense St. Nearby, you can see the Roman monument Pyramid of Cestius and the Basilica di San Paolo.

The museum Centrale Montemartini, which displays classical sculptures in an industrial environment. 

You will also be minutes away from the picturesque Garbatella neighborhood.

To see the street art in Ostiense, walk along:

  • Via del Porto Fluviale St. (between the Ponte dell’Industria and the intersection with Via delle Conce).
  • Via dei Magazzini Generali St
  • Via del Commercio
street art in Ostiense Rome
Wall in the Ostiense district
street art in ostiense
Paint over the cracks! | Ostiense district, Rome
street art in the ostiense district rome
Long, painted wall in the Ostiense district | street art in Rome
street art in the ostiense district Rome
Wall in the Ostiense district

Street art in the Pigneto and Torpignattara neighborhoods 

The Torpignattara neighborhood extends along the Via Casilina and Via Bullicante streets.

This is one of the parts of Rome that was bombed during WWII. Torpignattara is also the most multicultural area in Rome.

If you go sightseeing street art in this neighborhood, don’t forget to pay a visit to the lesser-known catacombs of Santi Marcellino and Pietro in the neighborhood park Villa de Sanctis. The catacombs have nearly intact frescoes and the villa is the right place to have a picnic or even to jog.

If you feel more like a glass of wine or a coffee, head to the hipster neighborhood of Pigneto. You will find some baffling street art in the following locations:

  • Via Capua
  • Via Bartolomeo Perestrello
  • Via Antonio Tempesta
  • Via Lodovico Pavoni
  • Viale Acquedotto Alessandrino

How to reach Tor Pignattara

Get the subway line C to Malatesta Station.

Street art at the CSOA Forte Prenestino occupied cultural center

The fortress “Prenestino” was built in the second half of the 19th century, together with 14 others on Rome’s edges, in order to defend the newborn Kingdom of Italy. 

By the 1980’s it had become an illegal urban dump. That’s when a group of alternative locals broke down the gate and claimed occupation.

Thanks to the continuous commitment of these guys, today we can enjoy in that unique location a substantial number of cultural and recreational initiatives such as:

  • International comics festival “Crack!” 
  • Wine and sensuality festival “Enotica”
  • Jazz Festival 
  • Non-labour Day.

It’s inside the numerous tunnels and rooms of the fort that you’ll find the street art.

If you can’t visit the fort during one of the festivals, visit one of their workshops like the tea room “InTherferenze,” or the winery “Enoteca Terra Terra.” You’ll get a taste of the city’s most vibrant subcultures of Rome.

Address: Via Federico Delpino. Opening hours: Tues. thru Sun. 11 AM – 12 AM

How to get there:

From Roma Termini get on tram 5, get off at Delpino Station and then wlak for 5 minutes to Forte Prenestino.

Street art at the Ex-Snia occupied cultural center

Like Forte Prenestino, the Ex-snia is an occupied space. It rose on the ashes of an old textile factory established dating back to the 1920s. The factory engaged in the production of uniforms during WWII and was consequently bombed by the allied troops.

An invasive construction policy in the surrounding area, led to an unexpected flood in 1992, and to the formation of a lake. The avid constructors didn’t care that under the ground stood an aquifer, of very pure water. actually.

Recently, the guys occupying ex-factory have joined the locals in a committee that defend the lake and the surrounding land.The area is now a public park.

The Ex-snia cultural center is very active, with very affordable cultural initiatives, including almost-free education, live music, and movie and pizza nights.

The building features beautiful urban art that you should check out.

Address: Via Prenestina, 173 

How to get there:

From the subway Line A at Vittorio Emanuele Station, take tram no. 5 to Gerani and get off at the eighth stop Prenestino/Giovenale.

M.U.Ro. project | Street art in the Quadraro neighborhood 

The Museum of Urban Art of Rome is an open-air museum founded by Diavù in 2010.

The museum is free and belongs to the citizens. It hasn’t been controlled by external agencies or investors. The artworks are discussed between the local neighborhood committees and the artists during public assemblies.

To join this monumental project, artists need to relate to the places, the locals, and their stories.

The project started in the Quadraro neighborhood and has spread all over the city. Here are the locations with most murals:

  • Via dei Lentuli
  • Via dei Pisoni
  • Via dei Quintili

How to get there:

Get the subway line A to Quadraro.

The MAAM: a unique place for street art in Rome

The MAAM, “Museum of the Other and of the Elsewhere” is a public museum that display the suburban, mixed-race reality which is a distinctive trait of Rome.

If you really want to dive into the most authentic street art of Rome, you can’t skip taking a stroll inside this place.  It’s hard to describe it in words, better to quote the founders:

 “this is an an outer space, the public space as defined by international treaties, where arms and private properties are banned”.

Address: Via Prenestina, 913.

How to reach the MAAM

From Roma Termini, get on the subway B and get off at Ponte Mammolo. Then take a bus 508 and stop at Prenestina/Tiratelli.

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Wall by Diamond and Solo

Get to know some of the biggest street artists in Rome

There are a few street artists in Rome that stand out for their work in the public space and their contribution to the development of street art.

Thanks to their sane stubbornness and the strenuous dialogue they’ve undertaken with the government to obtain permission and funds to produce art for the city, the foundation, street art movement developed in Rome and Italy.

We owe them as a society. New street artists now have someone to look up to. 

Ingrid Bergman for Diavu's street art project Popstairs
Ingrid Bergman for Diavu’s street art project Popstairs

Diavù

David Vecchiato, aka Diavù, has been on the artistic scene since 1992.

He began producing art on the streets of Rome and in printed publications (comics and illustrations). His artistic bio is too dense to include here in this introduction to street art in Rome. 

I’ll focus on a few of his recent projects in the eternal city. 

M.U.R.o. in the Quadraro neighborhood (I’ve just shared information on this)

GRAArt project

The murals are created at the junctions of the Great Ring Road highway surrounding Rome, known as GRA.

The highway has become a symbol of the city since millions of people use it every day to go to work.

I bet you know that Rome has an issue with heavy traffic. Too many people own a car!

Street art at the Roma Tre University

On the walls of the Department for the Study of Art, Music, and Entertainment, the artist realized ten walls for the project “10 murals for Roma Tre”. Subjects recall scenes from 10 avant-garde. 

POPSTAIRS project

Since 2015, Diavù has masterfully portrayed women of the cinema, history, and culture on long staircases all over the city.  Among these women, the actresses Anna Magnani, Elena Sofia Ricci, Ingrid Bergman, and Michèle Mercier.

murales in the Ostiense district Rome
murale in the Ostiense district, Rome
murales by Blu in Rome Italy
Wall by Blu in Rome Italy
street art in rome pinterest
Street art by Blu in Casal De Pazzi district | Street art in Rome, Italy

Blu

Blu is one of the most prolific street artists in Italy and the world. The artist prefers to stay anonymous. He’s not represented by any agency or gallery.

His huge, elaborate murals in Rome’s suburbs invite you to reflect upon the human condition in the contemporary age and politics.

Among the subjects are social inequality, the conflict between man and nature, and the regression of the human species.

Solo

I had been repeatedly spotting Solo’s murals for years all around Rome before I realized they were all artworks by the same hand!

In 2017, I pulled over under an overpass on the Via Flaminia to better admire one of the most baffling murals I had seen in Rome. That’s the “The Mummy of the Red Cave.” This street art was inspired by the recent finding of an ancient sarcophagus with a young girl buried underground in the urban area of “Grottarossa.”

As I learned from the artist’s page, Flavio Solo was born in Rome in 1982 and pursued artistic studies. He grew up during the blossoming of Italian street art in the ‘90s and has been painting on canvas and walls ever since.

He draws inspiration from the works of the Factory of Andy Warhol and from comics. His street art made him famous internationally. He loves depicting “superheroes” living ordinary lives that aren’t always winners.

He aims at inspiring common people throughout hardships.

 

best street artists rome italy
Wall by Diamond in Tor Marancia district | best street artists in Rome

Street art by Diamond

Also known as Crazy Diamond, Stefano Biagiotti was born in Rome in 1977 and has been producing street art since 1993.

He took part in international street art festivals and exhibitions, but you will be able to find a conspicuous number of his walls in Rome.

He describes his distinctive works as a complex representation of the complex life of the characters, caught in a network of intense feelings that sometimes are unseemly and not easy to express.

Some of his wall portraits of intensely beautiful and emotive women show the influence of art nouveau and the pin-up culture.

Quite a few of his works are a collaboration with Solo. You will find one of his productions in the open-air museum of Tor Marancia.

One of his latest murals is in the Garbatella neighborhood.

Address: Via Francesco Passino, 40.

big city life museum rome
Wall in the Big City Life Museum
street art in Rome suburbs
Tor Marancia’s Big City Life

Female street artists in Rome

Alice Pasquini

Alice Pasquini was born in Rome in 1980. She is one of the (unfortunately) few internationally recognized female street artists.

Her works are diverse, from tiny works such as on drinking fountains to large walls.

Her favorite subjects are women, caught in the expression of the joy of living and being.

Alice has created street art in many parts of the world. 

She has also exhibited in world-renowned galleries such as Saatchi Gallery, MACRO Museum of Contemporary Art in Rome, and Espace Pierre Cardin.

Want to know good news for those who want to buy street art in Rome? This artist sells her artwork, for information email her at info@alicepasquini.com.

Violetta Carpino

Violetta Carpino is my favorite street artist in Rome (and beyond). In this post, she comes at the end of the list only because I met her late!

Her art conveys a sense of intimacy and human warmth, expressing the most primal gift of femininity: to embrace.

The stroke of her hand is realistic, photographic.

This artist undoubtedly deserves more attention and recognition.

About street art, it’s the expectation of the unique relationship the viewer will have with the work that motivates her. 

She said that the creator can put all the intent they want in an artwork, but in the end it is the recipient of it who gives it meaning and life. An extremely inspiring point of view!

I’ll stop for now. But keep this post at hand because I’ll be adding new information about Rome street art.

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