A mural depicting the resistance of a Kurdish fighter against ISIS, with Garbatella visible in the background.
  • Located in the outskirts of Rome, Garbatella is known both for its revolutionary, century-old housing experiment and as one of the best places to see Rome's street art.
  • Photographer Bruno Federico visited Garbatella to capture its spirit of rebellion and creativity.
  • For more stories, go to www.BusinessInside.co.za.

Garbatella is a working class neighborhood in the outskirts of Rome. It's known for a century-old housing project that serves as a reminder of how good urban design can make for happy urban spaces. It's also home to some of the most interesting street art in the Italian capital.

Built in 1920 to house workers from nearby factories, Garbatella was itself a revolutionary idea: A garden-city with public low-cost housing and space to relax and commune with neighbours.

Today, Garbatella remains a wonderful example of the Barochetto Romano. While high-rise buildings would become the dominant form of public housing in the later years of the mid-20th Century, Garbatella, with its winding streets and lush courtyards, is a place where greenery and urbanisation coexist.

Housing units at Garbatella surround a central garden, which serves as a place for residents to linger and socialize.
The lyrics to a song by Italian singer-songwriter Francesco Guccini: "Day and night we'll spit hour heart on the face of the injustice / We are the "Greats of La Mancha" Sancho Panza and Don Quixote!"
The steps and public water fountains are among the best known features of the neighborhood.

The neighborhood is rich in social and culture initiatives and its walls and building facades tell a story of rebellion and the struggle for a better future. Walking through Garbatella, you'll see art that takes on the destruction of the environment, racism and the criminalisation of the migration, the dystopic model of the city, and the cause of Free Palestine.

A common site along one street is Mrs Gisella, who at 81 likes to stay at her windows to greet neighbours and people-watch. She says that Garbatella it is a quiet and pleasant place to live.

Mrs Gisella, 81, watches passerby from her window.
The entrance of one of the social housing projects.
Murals in support of Palestinians.

Murals also celebrate the neighbourhood's past, like the lady "Garbatella" who is thought to have given the neighbourhood its name, and the Roman singer, Alvaro Amici, who grew up in Garbatella.

One mural pays tribute to Enrico Mancini, an Italian anti-fascist partisan who was captured and tortured by the Nazis. He was among the 335 civilians and political prisoners killed by Nazis in Rome on March 24, 1944, at the Fosse Ardeatine massacre in Rome.

A mural of Garbatella, a lady who, some say, gave her name to the neighborhood.
A mural depicts the Roman singer, Alvaro Amici, who grew up in Garbatella.
A view inside Garbatella.

The Case Rosse Social Center is a local bar and cafe, but it's also much more than that. The group offers free classes to migrants, organises cultural and social activities, and runs a food bank.

The cooperative Case Rosse, in the middle of the neighborhood, organizes social, political and cultural events and acts in solidarity with the migrants. In the photo they are distributing food to people in need
A mural celebrates the anti-Fascist partisan, Enrico Mancini.
A huge mural from the Italian artist Blue shows a storm-rocked sailing ship under attack by pirates.

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