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G is for Graffiti

Is it art or is it vandalism? Or maybe both? I'm not sure, but there's no doubt that Venice has a graffiti problem. There's way too much of it, it's all over the place, and most of it is ugly meaningless eyesore gibberish on so many of those beautiful historic buildings.

Someone told me that the city of Venice does have a graffiti removal team but that its entire budget goes towards keeping the Piazza San Marco area clean. That explains why there's graffiti in other parts of the city that lingers for years. Like this guy - I've seen him every time I've visited Venice!

Venice graffiti

This insect (?) with a red heart in a net has been there for years too.

Santa Croce

So I guess I lean more towards the vandalism side of the debate but even so, I do sometimes see graffiti that catches my eye or makes me smile.




There's something poignant about this guy. Who? And why is so much of this graffiti in English???


And while it's crazy that anyone would even consider putting graffiti on a church, I have to confess that I laughed when I saw this on the deconsecrated church of San Toma.

San Toma

Visit the home of ABC Wednesday to find more Round 10 participants!


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Comments (24)

The side of Venice we are never shown I would suspect! Thanks so much for this - very poignant!
Denise ABC Team

Grafitti can be very artful but I think its vandalism when it desecrates someone elses property. If its not yours keep your hands off....

I have mixed feelings about graffiti, maybe because while some works are very cool or telling, others are often offensive.

So sad. I understand some of it has a social meaning but demonstrating it this way to me is incomprehensible. I know some students look upon graffiti as art. In their places, sure! JMO

The line between graffiti and art is very thin. I like that 1st guy, but the signatures around him, not so much.

ROG, ABC Wednesday team


I like urban art on large empty walls, but not on monuments or historical buildings. Great take on the theme!

I am not very fond of graffiti but there are some exception.

Gold and Green
Rose, ABC Wednesday Team.

What a shame that so much potential beauty is covered in graffiti!


I don't think that the line between art and vandalism is thin at all. Would you want any of it on your house front? There's always somebody who'll say 'Yes', so the second part of the question is: Would you want it there forever?

I am not a fan of graffiti. I wonder when they do the painting. Does anyone ever see them?

Thanks for your visit today.

Gigi Ann ABC Wednesday Team

Great shots of the graffiti. I like graffiti and am tolerant unless it's part of gang wars or hate speech. It also depends a lot about where it is and what type of building. When it's under bridges and on boring concrete buildings it can add to the visual. Carver, ABC Wednesday Team

There is a group in Venice (i nostri masegni, puliti e splenditi), who, along with Venessia.com, are working hard towards dealing with this creeping menace. The former group has had meetings with the city architect, and it sounds like efforts in a few directions: detection, cleaning, education in schools, and so on will be underway.


Cool pics! I've encountered beautiful graffiti that I would definitely name as art. I like when cities offer wall space to graffiti artists, or muralists. Halifax has a couple large "concrete canvasses" that often have very intriguing images painted on them. Still...am not a fan of graffiti as an act of vandalism or destruction. And not at all sure I'd welcome it on my own space. Tough question, what to do about it.

Very thought provoking post, thanks!


I agree with Roger that the line between the two sides (art or vandalism) is fine. Some I enjoy, but other times it's just messy junk.

abcw team

I like seeing them when they are artistic. I hate it when write their names and love and other messages.

Janaki Nagaraj:

A couple of them are artistic...but, I am against graffiti which is to deface buildings. I do like the artistic ones...

Kathy (Trekcapri):

Hi Annie, a great take on this week's theme. Very thought provoking too. I remember seeing some graffiti during my 2007 trip. I think it takes away from Venice's beauty.

Thanks so much for sharing.

Thanks to everyone for your comments. I really enjoyed reading them and seeing all the different thoughts.

I love graffiti. I love the idea that art can be public - done by regular people, for regular people. I love that it is often amusing, often political and often makes you look (and think) twice. I also chose graffiti for my "G" submission to ABC Wednesday. I totally enjoyed seeing the graffiti of Venice!



Annie, I'm not sure if it's art or vandalism -- but if this is any comfort, graffiti has very long history in Italy, dating back to the ancient Romans. The Italian word graffiti basically means "scratched" as designs were scratched into hard surfaces.

Did you see the HBO series Rome a few years ago? Each episode opened with some very cool shots of ancient graffiti which then came to life on the screen!A lot of it was pretty crude but some beautiful.

Sandra, I knew that it was an Italian word but didn't know about the Rome series. That sounds very cool.

There are a few places in Venice with some centuries-old graffiti scratched into marble; there is even some on the oolumns on the facade of San Marco!

quite common to popular cities such as Venice I suppose...visiting from abc wednesday.


The other day I actually happened upon some (very dull) graffiti being scrubbed off a wall in Campo S. Anzolo. I was shocked--I'd never seen any being cleaned off before, and your post explains why. But perhaps this is changing a bit...

Steven, I would have been shocked too! That's great to hear.

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