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Battle of Prenestina

Posted on Mar 6, 2011 | 4 comments

Close to the ATAC depot on the Prenestina there is a legal wall where I like to say a “battle” has been going on for at least 8 months or so. I call it a battle because of the systematic painting and repainting of pieces on the wall, which are covered up and tagged and then repainted again. I get a birds eye view of the war as it wages on because my tram passes the wall every day. I know well enough by now that if I don’t hustle and get a photo of something immediately, it’s sure to be tagged over soon enough. Most of the wall is covered by high quality graffiti (since the wall is legal writers can take all the time they want to craft their pieces), but a few street artists use it as well, most frequently Hopnn and #. In fact, I blogged about one of Hopnn’s pieces over on Crack For Your Eyes because it’s one of my favorites of his and, surprisingly, it’s been left pretty much untouched by the taggers. Most often, however, pieces by these two artists are immediately tagged over within a week or so. In a battle of free wall space, it seems that not everyone is happy to share. Not that it’s necessarily the writers whose stuff lay beneath (and are getting covered up), but there’s a bit of seek and destroy attitude. It reminds you that for the most part the world of writers and street artists is completely separate, with each seeking out their own “space” to put up their work. A street artist who decides to put his stuff on a wall entirely of writers is just begging to get covered up. Of course legal walls are few and far between in Rome, so some sharing needs to take place, making this situation a bit different. For the most famous example of the writer versus street artist feud, take Banksy and Robbo as the prime example.

One thing the “battle” actually does is spur a continuous rotation on the wall, which is actually kind of nice for me, as it gives me something new to photograph all the time. Plus you never know what sort of swear word is going to be scrawled on the wall when the tram passes, so it gives a little thrill to the commute.


  1. I absolutely the street art on your blog! Brilliant!

  2. Hia there, interesting stuff u got here.

    Im a norwegian writer going to Rome late this summer. I want to paint some while there but it has to be strictly legal..
    Traveling whit family so there are no compromise on that. Could you perhaps give me an address if there area walls like that to find ?

    Thanks for a nice blog !

    • Hello! How cool you are coming to Rome! The legal walls change all the time depending on administration and I’m not even sure if this one is legal anymore, as it was repainted by the city a little awhile ago. You should write to the cultural association Walls ( and ask them where the current legal walls are, as I know some were supposed to be newly approved, but I’m not sure the government has decided yet. There may still be some older ones, but as I don’t follow the writing scene so much, I’m not sure where they are.

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