I’ve been to Rome almost ten times now. My visits are always short and I get to see the same things over and over again, but I also try to do something new every time I am there. The first time I was in Rome I was actually disappointed. Sure, there a some pretty things, but it was the crazy traffic and dirty look of the city that left the biggest impression. This year I changed my opinion of Rome somewhat. There is still a lot to explore and there are a lot of museums to see. One time I decided to get away from the normal tourist attractions and book a tour through a different neighbourhood.
Through ‘Like a local’ I booked a street art tour. I fully expected it to be like the many walking tours that are now offered in many cities, but when I arrived at the Macro Testaccio I had to wait for a bit for my guide Valentina. For a moment I thought I was in the wrong place, since nobody else showed up. As it turned out, I had a private tour.
Valentina took me through the areas of Testaccio and Ostiense, two areas I hadn’t explored yet. It is a bit away from the busy areas of the Spanish steps and the Colosseum. This is an area with lots of street art and interesting places. It is cool to explore it by yourself, but it was even better with a local guide. Valentina knew the background of every art piece and of every building. And this was so important. Many of the artworks had a relation to the building, like art with the underwater world on what used to be a fish market.
The art also often had relevant topics, like these white hands that represent the hands of refugees, which this swimmer is completely ignoring. At another building the artist wanted to save the people living in the building, who were about to be kicked out. Other artists used famous art or people as a base for their works.
Valentina also gave me some other tips about Rome and led me to the Testaccio market, which is a great spot for lunch after a walk through the area. I could have walked through this area by myself and the art would still have been beautiful. Yet it wouldn’t have meant much without my guide. If you want to visit Rome and see something completely different, I can highly recommend getting out of the tourist center, with or without a guide. The area is easily accessible by metro to Piramide station.