A walk through the Art District of Ostiense, Rome
It's not the Vatican or the Trevi. It's not where tourists flock for selfies or drop coins in fountains. Quite the opposite of a postcard side of Rome, it's barren, gritty and real.
The art district of Ostiense.
Originally an industrial area, and a neglected working class neighbourhood, Ostiense has seen a sort of a 'revival' in recent years. It reminded me a lot of Hackney in London. This neighbourhood has become a mecca for artists and hipsters... and boasts of some of the most talked about street art in Rome.
Artists are using the shabby barren walls of abandoned buildings, industrial warehouses and estates, the underside of flyovers as their own personal canvases, to create spectacular murals.
On a hot summer afternoon, we went street art hopping in Ostiense.
This former Ostiense Air Force building, occupied by families with housing problems hosts on it's facade a mural by Blu. Completed in 2013, this has become a landmark of the district. The multicoloured sailing ship carrying an urban building site, this dystopian apocalyptic image is the first striking piece as we began our exploration.
And it kept getting better as we walked down and the building came in full view, the enormity of it. The colour coded alien faces with broken windows as eyes is creepy at the same time cute. Amidst a housing crisis, this old and deprived structure has become a symbol of the community.