The most exciting and fascinating thing I saw in Rome was ‘Metropoliz’.

When my friends and I got to the place unannounced, clueless as to what we would find, a guy was standing at the heavy metal gates.
It wasn’t other than Giorgio de Finis, the curator of the project. And I can’t thank him enough for taking the time and effort and making us a guided tour through the site.

The former salami factory at Via Prenestina 913 is now inhabited by some 200 residents arrived from every corner of the planet; from South America to Africa, from the Roma community to Rome.
He told us all about the MAAM project, the ‘Museum of the Other and the Elsewhere’ of Metropoliz città mestizo.

“Showers for pigs”, reference to the factory’s former residents and a cynical reminder of how immigrants are treated in Italy

 


The site is simply breathtaking, like nothing I ever saw. Metropoliz has become a modernist open museum of contemporary art. The mecca of street art. Part collectve living, part collective art. Bringing the city closer to art and art closer to life. A remarkable experiment of community living.

 

 

Artists come from all over the world to give their contribution. Be it a painting, a sculpture made of plastic bottles, portraits painted with bic pens, big white snails creeping through the staircase, a world made of wood rubble, a rocket to go to the moon…

portraits drawn with bic pens

a planet made of wood rubble found on the site

 

The pieces cover the place like a second skin and in becoming a hallmark of modern art, that skin acts like a protection for the residents from the ever-looming threat of eviction.

“the space is yours”

Art as a shield.
Warrior residents living in pretty dire conditions, among world-renouned works of art.
An art-armored cittadelle, guarded by soldier artists.

The poetry of the place struck me. The 50 children running wild, some barefeet, some playing in the rubble, under cooing pigeons.

Kids have a “ludoteca”, a play-room, with works by Veronica Montanino and Alice Pasquini. Pastels, turquoises and pure vitality.

 


The main residence building boasts sheer contrasts. Gloomy corridors and bright colourful staircases. Bedrooms painted by famous artists and pigeons sneaking into the common rooms.

 

portraits of the residents



the 33rd and last step of the residence building, a charged number

For the project’s curator, one of the most moving achievements for the artists is the contact and relationship they establish with the residents.

Not easy to reach, in the outskirts of Rome, Metropoliz is worth the trouble.
If you want to pay it a visit, write an email to Giorgio: giorgiodefinis@gmail.com
Unless you count on being as lucky as we were.

And to keep up to date about the activities at Metropoliz, visit MAAM’s Facebook page.

Anita