Street art in Italy is one of the most interesting forms of modern visual art. Brought to Europe in the 90s from the USA, it is becoming more and more popular, thanks to city projects and many talented artists.
We have found the best examples of street art in Italy just for you!
Street art can be admired all over the world on different surfaces and in different forms. This form of art expression originated in the USA in the 60s and continued to evolve in the following decades in several forms. In the 1990’s it was finally exportd in other continents, especially South America and Europe, by local street artists: nowadays Berlin, Paris, London and Rome all have their own street art masterpieces and it’s a real joy for the eye to capture one while walking!
Street Art in the world: from the USA to the main European Cities
Street art is visual art executed in public locations, usually outside of the context of traditional art venues: for example it can be seen on buildings façades, bridges, walls and subways. The term “street art” became famous in the early 1980s during the “graffiti art” boom in the USA and it continued to be applied in different ways and forms until now. Stencil graffiti, wheatpasted poster art or sticker art, as well as street installation or sculpture are some of the most common forms of modern street art. The most inspired and original artists even use to project videos on walls, adorn benches and trees (this is known as “yarn bombing”) and often lock sculptures and other installations on to fences, street lamps, and other public furniture, securing them through padlocks (official name: Lock-on).
The earliest expressions of street art were certainly the graffiti which showed up on the sides of train carts and walls, executed by New York gangs in the 1920s and 1930s. But the real impact of this subversive culture was felt especially in the 1970s and 1980s. In those years, young people created a movement to respond to socio-political issues: they started a spontaneous movement to express how they felt and art seemed to them the easiest way to express their opinions to the world.
Soon, this subcultural phenomenon was noted and praised also by the “grown-ups” world: from the fingers and cans of teenagers it took the form of a proper artistic expression. Photographers understood its power and started capturing and “displacing” street art into different contexts, spreading its existence all over the world.
Most of the graffiti we’ve seen until a few years ago, were just a form of “vandalism”. In fact what people called graffiti was, until a few years ago, considered only the work of bored kids who wasted their time vandalizing subway trains and buildings with spray cans writing their names or pointless messages to unknown girls. But in the last decade city councils and cultural organizations took specific areas and assigned them to the best street artists: they managed to give new life to obsolete stations, subway walls and working-class building, drawing more and more attention to this form of art.
Street art in Italy: the best street art works you can not miss when visiting Italy
Italy is now one of the most popular european capitals for Street Art on Buildings. These works have nothing to do with the simple tags or graffiti sprayed on the walls, so hated by the citizens in the past. They are proper works of art, which make us think about what they mean and the relationship to the area in which they are placed. They are common, for example, in working-class areas of the main cities, often commissioned by city councils to drive more attention to the area and bring more people and tourists to visit forgotten quarters.
We have created a virtual itinerary with some of the most impressive street art works in Italy, all made by italian artists. Let’s start our journey!
Millo is a street artist born in Apulia, south of Italy. He decorated the area “Barriere di Milano” in Turin with 13 amazing murales, all about the relationship between humans and metropolis.
Project Energy Box managed in redecorating countless anonymous grey cabinets spread all over the city. This is one of the best examples by artist Zibe with his personal project: “Fluid thoughts”
Old Marinoni theatre was given a second life after being abandoned for many years. Thanks to a big restoration work and the art of local artist Manuel De Rita, aka Peeta, it is now a fascinating turquois and violet space, where light filters through colored windows on the ceiling and illuminate the curvy lines sprayed on the walls.
18 artists from all over the world partecipated to the project BIG CITY LIGHTS, launched in 2015 to adorn the area of Tormarancia in Rome with breathtaking murales on 18 buildings.
Francisco Bosoletti created his version of Partenope in the quarter Materdai in Naples. The work of art was executed on a 15 meters high building wall.
Street artist Microbo expressed her art on a building in Catania, one of Sicily’s main cities. Her work was executed in 2010 and from that moment on she created more than 80 exhibitions and 10 appearances in international museums.
Luca Barcellona is a local artist who recently finished painting a wall on the Bycicle Parking Station of Bologna, “Dynamo”. His work displays a quote by the tightrope walker Philippe Petit and it’s part of a project calles “B-wall”: every year the wall wil be repainted with a different art work.