No matter what happens with COVID regulations in museums, there’s one type of art you can see any time, without lines and without entrance fees: street art. Although street art is prolific throughout the world, Naples has embraced and adapted street art to make it uniquely reflect its neighborhoods, its hero’s and its legends. Read on to learn what makes street art special in Naples.
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The first thing most people think of when they think of Naples is probably pizza. The second thing? Well, that depends on who you ask. Ask an Italian that lives outside of Naples and you’ll likely get a strong reaction ranging from beautiful and amazing to crazy, wild or lawless. Ask a Neapolitan, and well, you’ll probably get all of these answers at the same time.
And they’re right. Naples is an overwhelmingly sensory place that won’t allow your eye, your stomach or any of your senses to rest for even a moment. In a word, Naples is “raw”, and it’s that raw quality that drives the second thing that now comes to my mind when I now think of Naples - street art.
I was lucky enough to get a crash course in Naples and its street art scene thanks to a new experience created by two of my favorite ladies in the business: Alexandra Lawrence and Annie Ojile. Their love of Naples and knowledge of street art made it easy for us to go deep into neighborhoods we wouldn’t have found on our own and gain a real understanding of Napoli’s unique street art culture.
Here are a few things I learned about street art in Naples:
Thanks to some infamous street artists and the proliferation of street art photography on Instagram, street art has moved outside the shadows from an illegal act done in the dark of the night to a commissioned piece created in broad daylight. Instead of paying a museum entrance fee and limiting your time based on crowds, you can visit street art any time, on your own terms.
And because street art is in the heart of real, local neighborhoods and reflecting local values and ideas, it’s truly art of the people.
Celebrating saints and celebrities, sin and redemption, joy and pain, hope and despair, street art in Naples covers almost every human emotion and experience you can think of. No subject is off limits and nothing is too sacred or too ridiculous to comment on.
One of the most interesting things about street art is that it has a sense of urgency- its alive and dancing with the times we’re living in. Unlike museum art that is protected, bought, sold and guarded, street art changes as we change, sometimes getting “cancelled” or painted over just days after the initial paint is dry. It’s that temporary quality that adds to the feeling of rawness- it's alive, but we don’t know for how long.
Next time you’re in Naples, book a street art tour with our friends Alex & Annie and connect with Prontopia for help finding your tour, carrying your luggage or navigating the city on your own.
In the meantime, we encourage you to check out street art in your own city!
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