San Lorenzo Street Art: A History of Milano

Milano mural of the city's history as told through street art

Milano’s thriving street art scene is visible all over the famed Italian city. Particularly in the Porta Ticinese neighborhood of central Milan you’ll find an impressive variety of graffiti, among them the famous wall along the Basilica di San Lorenzo, spanning from Via Pio VI to Corso Porta Ticinese. The site sits between the ruins of ancient roman columns of the San Lorenzo Basilica church and the Parco delle Basiliche.

A mega mural in front of San Lorenzo Basilica telling the history of the city A section of the Milano mega mural of San Lorenzo

The street art outside the basilica was commissioned by Don Augusto Casolo, of the San Lorenzo church itself, in an attempt to stop frequent random tags on the wall. Covering 40 meters in length (approx 130 feet) the mural is a collaboration between eleven street artists: Acme 107, Encs, Gatto Nero, Gatto Max, Gep, Gianbattista Leoni, Kasy 23, Luca Zammarchi, Mr. Blob, Neve and 750ml.

A retelling of two millennia of the city’s history, the art features images of the Visconti rulers of ancient Milan, Napoleon, the famous opera composer Giuseppe Verdi, the arrival of American troops in Milano during WWII and Leonardo da Vinci as the inventor of spray paint.

A depiction of famous opera composer Giuseppe Verdi on the Milano history mural The section of the San Lorenzo Milano mural depicting Napoleon entering the Italian city Milano mural showing an American soldier arriving in the city during WWII A portions of the mega mural in Milano in an artistic retelling of history

Although each artist has his own distinct style, the sections work together beautifully to create a cohesive visual story of key moments in Milano’s past. Saturated colors make the subjects leap off the muted backgrounds, enticing passersby to stop and engage, captivating the imagination. The mural is more than a vibrant part of the neighborhood, it offers insight into the history of one of Italy’s most important cities. A perfect example of the beauty behind street art, the mural reaches a wide audience and inspires those who were not already seeking inspiration.

A street artist's version of the creation of man near the San Lorenzo Basilica mural

For a deeper look at the Milano mural this Italian article published at the time the mural was painted offers an interesting peek into the artists’ creative process.

Tell us what you think