Few people know about Tor Marancia and its incredible street art – and that’s exactly why you should go. It’s completely off the beaten path, so if you’re not a fan of sticking to the tourist trail anyway, this one’s totally for you. And, needless to say, if you’re a lover of street art, then you’re not going to want to miss this place out.
I recently joined a Tor Marancia street art tour and enjoyed it so much that I thought I should share its best kept secrets with you. I bet that, after reading this post, you will want to go too. Ready to learn more? Continue reading!
Head over to my post The Best Hidden Gems In Rome.
What Is Tor Marancia, And How Was It Created?
In 2015, the neglected area of Tor Marancia was due a facelift. This district of Rome is predominantly made up of social housing, but its roots are even more humble than that.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the area of Tor Marancia (named after a tower that isn’t there anymore) was pretty much a slum; people had been forcibly evicted from the Piazza Venezia area in an effort to redevelop the center of Rome. The people created their own makeshift homes in the suburb of Tor Marancia.
Later, social housing developed in the form of tenement blocks with apartments for people to live in. However, Tor Marancia was never an attractive part of Rome. To breathe a new lease of life into the area, a social project was inaugurated in 2015.
This community project, called Big City Life, was dreamt up by artist collective and gallery, 999Contemporary. It focused on regenerating the district with street art. Artists that the team invited to share their skills with Tor Marancia, and Rome at large, include Moneyless, Alberonero, Clemens Behr, Lek & Sowat, Jerico, Philippe Baudelocque, Pantonio and Gaia.
As a result, the buildings in Tor Marancia became covered with enormous, colorful murals and graffiti by a selection of well known street artists. It has resulted in a vibrant, creative and thought-provoking open-air museum – an interesting move in a city that is perhaps better known for being an open-air museum of the more ancient kind.
The Best Tor Marancia Street Art
The following is just a selection of the best murals you can see in Tor Marancia. Needless to say, there are many more!
Welcome to Shanghai 35 by Caratoes
Completed by Hong Kong street artist Caratoes, “Welcome to Shanghai” plays on the nickname that was given to Tor Marancia (i.e. Shanghai) in its more checkered past of crime and poverty. The piece itself is a striking monochrome creation, punctuated by red shapes.
Alme Sol Invictus by Domenico Romeo
This piece of art took inspiration from the ancient Roman god of the sun, Sol Invictus. The artist himself wanted to inspire hope for the future by breathing new life into this district with a symbol from the past. The art sees a large, elaborate red sun beaming out in geometric shapes on the pristine, white-washed facade of a building.
Il Peso della Storia by Jaz
Argentinian artist Jaz’s work, “Il Peso della Storia” provides an insight into the history of the area with a depiction of two wrestlers mid-fight daubed across the wall. One wrestler is carrying another on his back, representing the weight of Tor Marancia’s history.
The Hand of God by Jerico
This uplifting mural was inspired by Michelangelo’s very own hand of God (as depicted in The Creation of Adam in the Sistine Chapel ceiling frescoes). Two huge hands touch on the facade of a building, while cherry blossoms in bloom snake across the piece like beautiful cracks in the wall.
Nostra Signora di Shanghai by Mr Klevra
Translating to “Our Lady of Shanghai” – and again playing on the old nickname of this district – this comforting mural was created by Italian street artist, Mr Klevra. It’s a reassuring image of a mother holding her child, symbolizing Rome as a mother embracing her child (Tor Marancia).
Natura Morta by Reka
This Cubist-style mural depicts regular still life subjects – fruit, flowers, a wine glass – except in a considered selection of bold colors.
Ordine e Disordine by Matteo Basile
Completed in 2015, this is a huge pasting on the wall depicting the Chinese artist and activist, Ai Weiwei. Translating to “Order and Disorder”, the enormous image plays with the ideas of beauty and the grotesque, artificial and natural world.
Should you do a guided tour of Tor Marancia street art?
Absolutely you should! While walking around the area is interesting by yourself, you won’t get to learn half as much history and background about the pieces themselves than if you went on a tour.
A guided tour offers you the chance to explore the neighborhood with an informative, knowledgeable guide, who will be able to tell the story of how the once humble district came to be painted in explosive colors by a team of international street artists. The secrets of these huge murals and pieces of art will be revealed on a guided tour.
If you’d rather check out street art in the Ostiense District, you could consider joining a different guided tour. For more information, click here.
Where is Tor Marancia?
Tor Marancia is located to the south of Rome’s city center, close to both the Garbatella and Ostiense districts. The actual address is Viale Tor Marancia, Rome, 00147.
How to get to Tor Marancia
It’s not exactly in the city center, far from it, but that doesn’t mean getting to Tor Marancia is all that difficult. It’s a straightforward journey on Rome’s comprehensive public transport network.
By bus from the center of Rome
From Rome Termini station, you can take the 714 bus and get off at Colombo (Rufino) stop; it’s just a 12-minute (half a mile) walk from here to the district. If you’re staying in Trastevere, you can take the number 30 bus from Marmorata/Vanvitelli to Colombo (Rufino) and then walk the same route; this journey is around 40 minutes in total.
If you’re staying in the center, for example near the Spanish Steps, then you can hop on the 160 from the Tritone/Fontana Trevi. Get off at the Sartorio/Lotto stop, which is pretty much on the doorstep of Tor Marancia; it takes 40-ish minutes.
By metro and bus
There’s also the option to take the metro Line B from Termini to Circo Massimo. Here you can change for bus 160 and follow the journey as above.
It’s a 22-minute taxi journey from Rome Termini station to Tor Marancia (just under 7 kilometers). This should cost around €15. Should you be traveling from the historic center of Rome, it will cost you around €22.