April 16, 2013, Arts & Entertainment, Italia, News, Notes, Puglia, Taranto, Visual Art & Design

Graffiti in Italy

Graffiti in Italy has gone from personal to political in order to reflect the current economic crisis.

Graffiti has been known in Italy since the ancient Romans, who decorated the walls of Pompeii and the catacomb with declarations of love, curses and magic spells. In fact the word ‘Graffiti’ derives from the Italian word ‘graffiare’ meaning to scratch something into a surface, and people in Italy still write their passions on the walls. Though lately – it seems to me – subject matters have changed from ‘Ti amo’ and ‘Forza La Juve’ to political statements. Could be, that  graffiti in Italy has gone from personal to political in order to reflect the current economic crisis. After all, the sense of crisis has become almost palpable in the south over the past months, where out-of-work Italians have taken up begging in competition with Romas and illegal immigrants.

graffiti in italy

The present graffiti examples have been collected in cities from Trento in north to Lecce in the south within the last year. And there are plenty of artistic uses of both aerosol cans and stencils to cheer up the otherwise rather depressing concrete walls.

graffiti in italy

Several of the statements refer to the ‘no TAV’ (“Treno ad Alta Velocità”) movement that started as a protest against high-speed trains in particular the railroads from Lyon in France to Torino. There are also a couple of juicy slogans about rebels and police uniforms. And the rather sad pollution warning, which could be seen all over Taranto a few days before the local  ‘lavoro o salute’ (work or health) referendum where no one wanted to vote.

Goes to prove that you can still read a lot about a society by reading the messages on the walls.

graffiti in italy

If you are interested in Grafitti in Italy you might also like these other notes on Italian street life

Italy and the love lock fad

Urban legend: Shoe tossing in Catania

Rome wall plaques: Those who came before Kilroy

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A groan grasps the peanut near the offending anthology.A groan grasps the peanut near the offending anthology.


April 18, 2013 9:20 pm


I think graffiti says a lot about a place – and that’s part of the reason I signed up for a graffiti tour in Toronto at TBEX.

May 28 2013 03:02 am

Jason Kucherawy (Toronto Tour Guy)

I'm looking forward to having you on the Graffiti in Toronto tour! Here's a sneak peek at the tour... http://www.tourguys.ca/#!graffiti-in-toronto/c17a5

April 22 2013 18:06 pm


I'm sure you had some magnificent shots.

April 23, 2013 7:44 am

Mary {The World Is A Book}

I always learn something new. I didn’t know Graffiti was derived from an Italian word. These are some wonderful examples of people expressing themselves through art around Italy. It’s always fascinating to stop and look at graffiti at any city.

April 27 2013 11:12 am


Yes, a long as it's not just an aggressive smearing of letters.

April 23, 2013 10:07 am


I’m not a graffiti connoisseur, but I enjoy learning more about it and seeing the evolution in this case from a personal to political perspective. I think it can be incredibly reflective of what’s happening at a specific time and place. Even without being able to read Italian, I can tell that this is political.

April 24 2013 08:12 am


I'm not a connoisseur either, but I enjoy seeing the pieces that amount to more than vandalism.

April 30, 2013 2:10 pm


Great article – have seen some really great stuff in Milano in between the never ending collection of scribbles

May 01 2013 07:56 am


I'd love to see that, but I don't think I've been to the right places in Milan yet.

June 10, 2013 3:05 pm

Salika Jay

I’m a fan of graffiti and street arts. Some does a real good job, although not everyone may approve them.

June 10 2013 19:35 pm


I like it when people make an effort. But senseless tags and obscenities can be a plague.

June 14, 2013 7:27 am


I tend to agree with the blue one in the firsr row.

June 15 2013 10:23 am


Who wouldn't want to be a healthy rebel:)

July 23, 2013 8:13 pm


Barcelona has plenty of graffiti, some plain horrible and some others very artistic I must say. This graffiti here is artistic and also “looks more Italian” haha! (I’m no graffiti expert…)

July 25 2013 16:44 pm


Well, there's plenty of that around here too, to be honest.

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