“Wrap up warm” was the advice before heading out to discover the best street art in Rome. Why? Because we were going on a tour with Scooteroma! So when Saturday morning of our Winter In Rome weekend arrived, we piled out of The Beehive Hostel to meet with Annie and her team of Vespisti…
Scooteroma is a Vespa tour company based in Rome. It’s run by Annie and her partner Giovanni, or the ‘Scooter Maven’ and ‘Mr G.’ as they’re named on their website.
I was really excited. I don’t really have a bucket list, but there are some experiences that I’ve dreamt of for as long as I can remember. Exploring a European city on the back of a scooter is one of them.
My excitement grew when Annie picked me to go on the back of her blood red Vespa. Don’t get me wrong, riding around Rome with one of the very handsome male Vespisti would also have been incredible. But look how cool Annie is…
Exploring the Street Art in Rome with Scooteroma
To be honest, if you have the opportunity to take any tour with Scooteroma I would take it! But the fact that we were going on a tour of street art in Rome made the whole experience close to perfection.
You know I already love discovering and writing about street art in Europe. Even more so when the guides are locals. Our awesome guide to street art in Rome was Mike, a born and bred Roman.
Mike’s knowledge of the art was astounding. But most important were his descriptions of the ways in which the artists and artworks wove into the tapestry of Rome’s local history.
Temper Tot Mural
Take for example the Temper Tot Mural below by Ron English. Mike explained that Ron English had spent weeks living in Quadraro, the neighbourhood in which the piece was installed.
During that time he drank coffee in the local cafés, had his hair cut by a local barber, and genuinely tried to understand the lives of the people who lived there. You can see more of Ron English’s time in Rome in this video.
Nido di Vespe
Another piece of street art in Rome that is charged with local history is the Nido di Vespe (the ‘Wasp’s Nest’) by Roman artist, Lucamaleonte.
The neighbourhood of Quadrado held one of the strongest resistances to Nazi reign during World War II. And for this, in April 1944, they were severely punished when a troop of Fascist police entered and raided the neighbourhood. 70 years later, Lucamaleonte painted seven huge wasps on the wall lining the road in which the Fascist troops entered Quadrado.
The use of wasps seems abstract. But as it is clearly explained here, the Wasp’s Nest represents the community’s commitment to working together to ensure that no outside forces ever harm them again.
I also love the use of bright yellow. A stark contrast to the dark days of World War II, and the state of the neighbourhood once the Fascists had left it in ruins.
Discovering New Neighbourhoods via Street Art in Rome
One of the most fascinating aspects of our tour with Scooteroma was the opportunity the Vespas gave us to explore new neighbourhoods outside the centre of Rome. As Mike said at the start of the tour, “We use street art as a catalyst to explore other sides of the city.”
I’ve spoken a lot about Quadrado in the section above. But another unique neighbourhood is Ostiense. Formerly a strongly industrialised area of Rome, the district is hard at work to stand out as a contemporary and creative space for the everyday Roman.
One of the best representations of the atmosphere in Ostiense can be seen in the mural below by Italian street artist Blu. The building on via del Porto Fluviale grew into a sanctuary for Rome’s multicultural community when it became a squat just under a decade ago.
Mike explained that Blu wanted to “paint a wall of colours with the faces of guardians for the immigrant families inside.”
Another previously industrial neighbourhood we explored was Pigneto. Once a dodgy area of Rome, the district is becoming increasingly hip. But where the trendy restaurants and bars end, the street art begins.
The piece below, title Little Mary is by Italian street artist Mr Klevra. It is one of many pieces in the Piegneto painted in honour of Italian film director, Pier Paolo Pasolini. Little Mary is Mr Klevra’s own representation of Pasolini’s Mary in his film, The Gospel According to St. Matthew.
Further along the street are the Lovers of Berengo Gardin by Roman street artist Alice Pasquini. Inspired by a Gianni Barengo Gardin photograph of the same subject, the tenderness and movement in the painting made it one of my favourites on the tour!
Feeling Like a Local
One of the things I loved best about riding on the back of Annie’s Vespa (apart from of course riding on the back of Annie’s Vespa!!) is that you get a really authentic experience of what it’s like to be a local in Rome!
Each Vespa is unique to the rider. And not one Vespas used on the tours is branded. I asked Annie about this, and she insisted that she would never brand the scooters because it takes away from the authenticity of the tours.
What’s more is that the riders (or Vespisti) were so friendly and welcoming that you really felt that you were just hanging with a friend for the day. In fact I’m pretty sure that Robyn became best friends with her Vespista!
Scooteroma: Things To Know
Needless to say, exploring the best street art in Rome with Scooteroma is not the cheapest way to do so. In fact, it’s pretty expensive. But you’d be completely forgiven for breaking budget or splurging on these guys because:
- They really know their shit about street art in Rome.
- They’re extremely safe and extremely fun at the same time. I have a need for speed and Annie totally rocked along with that, and got me back in one safe piece!
- It’s the best way to get outside of central Rome. You’d never be able to explore all these areas on foot in one day!
- The tour is four hours and includes stopping for a coffee and possibly lunch!
So if you want to get in touch with them and find out the best price, just click here or the book now button below!
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So tell me: who’s your favourite Roman street artist?!
I was a guest on the Scooteroma Street Art in Rome Vespa Tour for the ‘Winter in Rome’ weekend run and hosted by The Beehive Hostel Rome. You can read more about the weekend here and read my review of The Beehive Hostel here. However, and as always, all opinions are honest and my own.