There's a big difference between simple tagging with spray paint and genuine street art. Rome has both, but in recent years, the latter has moved more into the spotlight of the world stage. There's even a big section on Rome's official tourism website now detailing neighborhoods to visit to view some of the city's best. Here's a look at some places in Rome to see great street art.
The Ostiense neighborhood is in the southern part of Rome and includes the Pyramid of Cestius and Roma Ostiense train station. Some of the artists whose work you can see on the sides of buildings, bridges and overpasses in this area are Sten+Lex, Blu, Kid Acne, JB Rock and Gaia, among others. Both the OUTDOOR Urban Art Festival and 999Contemporary are responsible for sparking renewed interest in the area, inviting both Italian and international street artists to leave their marks.
The Trastevere neighborhood is on the opposite side of the river from the historic center of Rome, just to the south of Vatican City. It's one of the places tourists typically visit anyway, and for this reason it's more crowded and less industrial -- which doesn't suit most street artists. There aren't as many murals in Trastevere as in other parts of the city, but they do exist. Look for works by Diamond, Omino71 and Mr. Klevra on a tour of Trastevere.
The Pigneto neighborhood is roughly to the east of the Colosseum, fanning out behind Termini station. It's a primarily industrial area full of street art, some of which is by artists who not only live in Rome but in the Pigneto area itself. Here, you'll find works by Alice Pasquini, Sten+Lex, Invader, Alt97, Uno and Hopnn.
Tor Marancia is a housing project that's become a tourist attraction thanks entirely to the enormous street art murals on the sides of apartment buildings. The Big City Life project brought 20 international artists to the site in early 2015, and the end result is 11 buildings with unique pieces of artwork. The site is south of Rome's city center, and you can see art by Seth, Domenico Romeo, Lek & Sowat, Mr. Klevra, Jaz, Jericho, Gaia, Diamond and more.
The San Basilio neighborhood is northeast of central Rome, and -- similar to the Big City Life project in Tor Marancia -- the SANBA project in San Basilio brings artists in to encourage urban renewal. Neighborhood residents contribute ideas to some of the designs, which adorn schools, apartment buildings and other public structures. You'll see work by Hitnes, Liquen and Agostino Iacurci.
Learn more on a walking tour of Rome's street art
-- Contributed by Jessica Spiegel for Viator