In Bologna, Via Majorana is a small side street technically within the historic city center. However, because of the proximity to the train station — a target in WWII — the buildings in the area tend to be post WWII. They still have portici and lovely colors in most cases, but some of the side streets are just as likely to be covered in graffiti rather than murals. Via Majorana, which has a large wall that serves to form a private courtyard off the back of some of the buildings on Via Mascarella, has often been the site of graffiti that ranged from little more than basic tags to more offensive words and sentiments.
This has been an issue in other neighborhoods, as well, so with the support of the city and Serendippo, a cultural civic organization, there have been attempts to change the walls into real works of art. In September of last year, artists were brought in — some from other countries in Europe, some local — to give Via Majorana a new look. At the same time, particularly as part of the Via Mascarella street party, some of the shop grates got a new look, as well.
Unfortunately, a few people complained, but in the end, the project went forward and everyone from residents to shop owners was happy with the final result. I was lucky to see some of the final work being done on the day of the Via Mascarella street festival. There’s a zen-like quality to the repeating patterns of the mural, as well as watching the artists at work. The flowing wave-like effect of the final work of art is both soothing and soaring. It’s definitely a positive addition to the neighborhood.
Mural, street art, graffiti, or simply art, no matter what you call it, I think it’s a great addition to a rebuilt section of an ancient city.
Check out my Instagram account for four more of the artworks being created on the shop gratings on the opposite side of the street from this mural. There are some really beautiful pieces.