Graffiti and Modern Street Art Tour in Rome, Ostiense district
Once a buzzing hub of industrial activity, Rome’s Ostiense neighbourhood offers an eclectic mix of sites to explore. A huge cylindrical gasometer, dating from the 1930s and visible from all around town, has become an emblem of the area and its working-class roots. Factories and other buildings from the turn of the century are now apartments, bars, and restaurants. In recent years, famous street artists from around the world have also chosen this dynamic quartiere as their canvas – join our tour to discover the colours and textures of vibrant Ostiense.
The tour will meet outside the Ostiense station near Piramide – the 2,000-year-old Egyptian-style pyramid. Built by the Roman general Gaius Cestius as his funerary monument, the 36-metre-high monolith is covered in white marble and is a striking addition to the Ostiense skyline.
From Piramide, we’ll walk down Via Ostiense, which was once an ancient road that stretched all the way out to sea, to the trading port of Ostia. On this modern street, the graffiti, stickers, and wheatpasted posters that characterise the neighbourhood begin to appear.
Turning the corner onto Via del Porto Fluviale, we see a huge mural painted by Blu, a street artist hailing from Bologna. He spent two years covering the façade of a former military barracks with bizarre, eye-catching faces and bright oscillating patterns. From up close, you can spot details that give clues to the building’s current use as a social and cultural centre. Have your cameras at the ready as this is a striking spot, unlike any site you’ll see in the nearby historic centre.
Opposite, a heron stands seven storeys tall not only catching fish but also purifying the air. The multicoloured mural, titled Hunting Pollution, was painted by Milanese artist Federico Massa (better known as Iena Cruz) using anti-pollution paint that neutralises smog and other contaminants in the air.
We’ll continue deeper into the streets of Ostiense to learn about more of Rome’s best street art. On Via dei Magazzini, JB Rock’s red, white and black Wall of Fame is comprised of portraits of famous figures that have inspired the artist, including Dante Alighieri, Elvis Presley and Quentin Tarantino. Just a couple of streets away, Paint Over the Cracks, by British street artist Kid Acne, decorates a 60-metre stretch of wall next to the iconic gasometer.
After crossing the Ponte di Ferro, or Iron Bridge, we’ll conclude this two-hour walking tour taking in the street art and murals to be found along the banks of the Tiber river.