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Metropoliz, Wunderkammern and Via Prenestina’s artistic revenge

street art via Prenestina
Metropoliz, Rome

You should know by now how much I love industrial archaeology: walking through abandoned factories makes me feel as I’ve just survived the apocalypse, while browsing all the machinery (once loud and majestic, now rusty and no longer in use) is my way of meditating on the fleeting substance of life. 

And I’m pretty sure you noticed that I have a thing for street art too!
So you can imagine how happy I was when I finally visited Metropoliz, a squatted industrial complex at Tor Sapienza neighbourhood, in the eastern outskirts of Rome.
 
street art via Prenestina
Metropoliz, Rome
While we drove along Via Prenestina (a quite long drive until number 913, especially on a rainy day -when we all know how horrific Roman traffic can be!) we listed what we knew about that former cured meat factory: that the takeover happened in 2009 and, given the lack of affordable housing in Rome, this huge abandoned factory now shelters families from many different countries (for a total amount of 200 people), that its inhabitants recently shot “Space Metropoliz”, a documentary movie which ultimately contributed to a cultural driven regeneration of Metropoliz itself, that they built an astronomical telescope out of reused material in the attempt to “reach the moon” (as a metaphor of a free space, ‘cause “moon is nobody’s and nobody can buy it”) and that the complex was covered with street art.
And so, we get literally our feet wet on this amazing graffiti hunting and urban exploration all-in-one! :-)

street art via Prenestina
Getting closer to Metropoliz, Rome
Even from the outside you can admire some major artistic works: from a Sten & Lex’s mural at the corner of the complex to the huge Borondo’s near the entrance (who, btw, just became my favourite street artist, so stay tuned and you will read more about him soon!), while as soon as you cross the gate you can recognize Alice Pasquini‘s unique style.
 
street art via Prenestina
Lex & Sten | Metropoliz, Rome
street art via Prenestina
Borondo | Metropoliz, Rome
street art via Prenestina
Alice Pasquini | Metropoliz, Rome
Still by Alice Pasquini are the beautiful kid-themed decorations all around the daycare centre for the multicultural young citizens of Metropoliz; we met one of the organizers, who told us that she has been working with some of those kids since when they were living in campgrounds.
 
street art via Prenestina
Alice Pasquini | Metropoliz, Rome
street art via Prenestina
Alice Pasquini | Metropoliz, Rome
street art via Prenestina
Exiting this first block, we went graffiti hunting all around what seemed a concert venue, and from there towards the last wing of the factory where -in addition to many astonishing street art works- you can spot some abandoned machineries too, which add to the location that post-industrial hint I like so much!

metropoliz, rome, street art, tor sapienza, industrial archaeology

 

 
metropoliz, rome, street art, tor sapienza, industrial archaeology
metropoliz, rome, street art, tor sapienza, industrial archaeology
street art via Prenestina
street art via Prenestina
metropoliz, rome, street art, tor sapienza, industrial archaeology
metropoliz, rome, street art, tor sapienza, industrial archaeology
 
As you can see from my pictures, a lot of talented street artists faced those walls: from Cancelletto to Diamond, those abandoned hallways are a truly Urban Art Museum (which is named MAAM: Museo dell’Altro e dell’Altrove, meaning Museum of Outher and Elsewhere). MAAM aims at transforming the whole abandoned complex into a work of art itself, making it a pivotal point of the collective art movement.
 
street art via Prenestina
street art via Prenestina
street art via Prenestina
street art via Prenestina
street art via Prenestina
street art via Prenestina
street art via Prenestina
street art via Prenestina
street art via Prenestina
In the assembly hall we met a Moroccan guy who told us more about the activities of the centre, while trying to convince my restorer friends to open their own studio inside the former factory.
It was really nice to have a Chaperon to Metropoliz-land and hear an insider point of view about that new form of cohabitation based on multiculturalism and self-management.
Suddenly, the sun was shining again. 
And so we left, heading towards the next artistic venue on our “cultural Wednesday” list.
street art via Prenestina
it comes the sun…
street art via Prenestina
it comes the sun…
Our next stop was the Wunderkammern Art Gallery in Tor Pignattara, my new favorite district of Rome. Here, the above-mentioned art gallery is constantly organizing very interesting street art exhibitions.
The ongoing exhibition is showing the work of a very young and extremely talented street artist, Agostino Iacurciwhose poetic world reminded me of Gianni Rodari’s extremely fantastic stories.
 
agostino iacurci, wunderkammern, tor pignattara, art gallery, rome
 
agostino iacurci, wunderkammern, tor pignattara, art gallery, rome
Plus, how can’t you fall in love with the venue itself?
I personally find the former refrigerating room very poetic!
 
wunderkammern, tor pignattara, art gallery, rome
wunderkammern, tor pignattara, art gallery, rome
Wunderkammern Backoffice
Moreover, the Wunderkammern Art Gallery involves its guest artists in the creation of public art for the neighborhood, renewing and lightening up this urban area one exhibition after another.
 
c215, tor pignattara, rome, graffiti street art
C215 | Tor Pignattara, Rome
c215, tor pignattara, rome, graffiti street art
C215 | Tor Pignattara, Rome
tor pignattara, rome, graffiti street art

Escif | Tor Pignattara, Rome

tor pignattara, rome, graffiti street art
c215, tor pignattara, rome, graffiti street art
C215 | Tor Pignattara, Rome
c215, tor pignattara, rome, graffiti street art
C215 | Tor Pignattara, Rome
c215, tor pignattara, rome, graffiti street art
C215 | Tor Pignattara, Rome

Even Agostino Iacurci was invited to realize a mural for the neighborhood but, perhaps it was too dark, perhaps we misunderstood the directions, the point is we didn’t find it. 

No biggie, ‘cause while we were looking for it we had the chance to enjoy a walk around this lovely area and we took some picture, which prove -once again- the underestimated beauty of Tor Pignattara.
 
tor pignattara, rome
tor pignattara, rome
tor pignattara, rome
tor pignattara, rome
tor pignattara, rome
tor pignattara, rome

Would you like to explore Rome off the beaten path with me?

Then book one of my alternative walking tours in Rome!

 

 

Find these (and many more) cool spots in my Rome Google Map!

 

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street art via Prenestina street art via Prenestina

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