Thursday, December 9th, 2010

Graffiti – the word itself is Italian and comes from the “graffiare” – to scratch. So why was it such a shock when I made an extended visit to Rome years ago and found graffiti everywhere. Of course when I visit New York or look at any railroad yard there is more than enough graffiti but it somehow seemed almost sacrilegious to find it in such abundance in Italy. But I got over it. I have a few pictures from that time and especially like the one of the graffiti on the upstream side of the Isola Tiberina viewed from the Ponte Garibaldi – including a photo of me when I was a tad younger.

Then there is the garden variety graffiti – professions of love, rock band names etc.

Of course graffiti is not limited to Rome, it is really pretty much everywhere. There are some attractive ones from Padova as shown and even some in, gasp, Venice.

Of course you can readily find huge amounts of graffiti, striking or obnoxious on the web using trusty Google and looking for images. I particularly like the ones below.

In the end I find graffiti sometimes amusing but more often obnoxious. It’s something that I’ve never indulged in. I am reminded of my mother’s saying “Fools names and fools faces are often found in public places.”

2 Responses to “Graffiti”

  1. Dom Says:

    i have been viewing Google street view for some time. The grafitti in Italy is very disturbing. It ruins many beautiful streetscapes. the penalties are obviously not severe enough. Persons committing these crimes should be severely punished, otherwise problemmwill only grow.

  2. Joe Says:


    I certainly felt much the same way the first time that I spent a fair amount of time there. I was in Rome for a month and after awhile it just seemed part of the landscape, not necessarily a charming part, but a part nonetheless. Of course it’s pretty much the same in a city of any size in the U.S. I’m not sure that the issue is the penalty as much as being able to catch them at it.

    I wonder if Italians using Google maps say the same thing about some parts of cities here.


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