Rome mural shows Italy’s political rivals kissing

An unauthorized mural was discovered in central Rome on Friday morning, showing political rivals Matteo Salvini and Luigi Di Maio locked in a passionate embrace.

Rome mural shows Italy's political rivals kissing
The Tvboy mural in Rome showing Luigi Di Maio kissing Matteo Salvini. Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP

The painting in Rome's Via del Collegio Capranica shows the leaders of Italy's two biggest populist parties – Salvini of the nationalist League and Di Maio of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement – kissing in front of a large red heart, a few hundred metres from the parliament buildings where newly elected legislators will hold their first session on Friday.

Another mural on Via Damasco in the south of Rome shows a smiling Giorgia Meloni, leader of the anti-immigration Brothers of Italy and one of Salvini's allies, hugging a dark-skinned child and sporting a badge saying “Refugees welcome”. 


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The works have been claimed by Italian street artist Tvboy, who posted pictures of them to his Instagram account in the early hours of Friday with the caption: “Is it an imaginary kiss or one that's possible? Is it a kiss of welcome or farewell? Tomorrow the members of the Senate and the Chamber [of Deputies] vote and perhaps we'll find out…”

By Friday morning he'd posted another picture – of a carabinieri police officer pacing in front of the mural, which had been hidden with a tower of cardboard boxes. 

“Work censured… The shortest kiss in history,” he wrote. 


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READ ALSO: Italy's new parliament is younger, more diverse and more female

Tvboy produced similar murals in Milan before the Italian election on March 4th, when he painted a kiss between former Italian prime ministers Silvio Berlusconi and Matteo Renzi – as well as Matteo Salvini holding a black baby while wearing the white coat of the Doctors Without Borders aid group.

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His work is reminiscent of the UK artist Banksy – who famously painted two policemen kissing – as well as the iconic Fraternal Kiss on the Berlin Wall, a work by Russian artist Dmitri Vrubel showing the leaders of the Soviet Union and East Germany sharing a tender moment. 

Tvboy's latest effort coincides with the first session of Italy's new elected parliament, which begins the process of electing speakers to the upper and lower houses on Friday. With parliament hung and the parties fiercely divided over possible coalitions, it's unlikely to end in any embraces. 

Di Maio and Salvini, whose parties made the biggest gains in the election, are competing not just over who should lead the houses but the entire government. Bitterly opposed during the campaign, they have since expressed willingness to work with other parties – including each others' – but remain profoundly divided over policy. 

An official “green zone” has been in place in Rome since Thursday night, banning any possible protests in the city centre to coincide with parliament's first day.

Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP


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What are the best Rome neighbourhoods for international residents?

Whether you're moving to Rome for the first time or are looking for a new neighbourhood to live in, here are five of the best 'quartieri' for foreign nationals.

What are the best Rome neighbourhoods for international residents?


Testaccio is a historic working-class Roman neighbourhood that’s become increasingly popular among international residents in recent years.

It’s surrounded on two sides by the Tiber, meaning you can walk along the river into the centre of town; and has good transport links, as it’s right next to both Piramide metro and Ostiense train station.


With its bustling food market and old-school Roman restaurants, Testaccio is a foodie haven, and you’ll often see food tours huddled around the market stalls nibbling on supplì and pecorino (though it’s mercifully otherwise relatively free of tour groups).

Testaccio's historic food market is a major draw.

Testaccio’s historic food market is a major draw. Photo by Vincenzo PINTO / AFP.

At one point it was ancient Rome’s river port and a commercial hub, so you’ll also see interesting Roman ruins like Monte Testaccio, a little hill formed entirely of broken clay pots (a 2000-year-old trash heap) or historic archways that made up part of the old quayside.


Located just across the river from the city centre, Trastevere is one of Rome’s most picturesque neighbourhoods, with the characteristic cobbled streets, terracotta-coloured dwellings and draping vines that many foreigners think of as quintessentially Italian.

READ ALSO: Six things foreigners should expect if they live in Rome

That also means it’s extremely popular with tourists and foreign students, who throng its piazzas and labyrinthine alleys year-round.

There’s no shortage of restaurants and bars in which to while away lazy afternoons and evenings; in fact there’s little else, and you’ll have to do a bit of digging to find ordinary shops and services.

Trastevere is popular with tourists and students.

Trastevere is popular with tourists and students. Photo by ANDREAS SOLARO / AFP.

Its central location means Trastevere has less of a neighbourhood feel than somewhere like Testaccio, but if you’re looking for a buzzing area that’s just a short stroll from some of Rome’s most famous monuments, it could be the place for you.


If you’re moving to Rome but wish you were in Berlin, you might want to venture east of the centre to Pigneto, where the cool kids go.

Its grey apartment blocks and grungy aesthetic might not make it much to look at, but its cheap(ish) rents and refreshingly un-stuffy vibe are attracting increasing numbers of young people.

Pigneto makes up for in coolness what it lacks in beauty.

Pigneto makes up for in coolness what it lacks in beauty. Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP.

Pigneto’s main strip of bars and restaurants, relatively quiet during the day, comes to life in the evenings and especially on weekends, when it turns into a vibrant party hub.

As well as having a fairly youthful population, the area is more of a cultural melting pot than many other parts of the city – though for a truly international experience you’ll want to go even further east to Tor Pignettara, where you’ll find some of Rome’s best non-Italian food.

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Just a few hundred feet from the Colosseum, Monti is practically in the city centre, though it’s still managed to retain its own distinctive personality.

It’s a trendy district where you’ll find a mix of stylish wine bars, chic restaurants, vintage clothing stores and high-end boutiques.

READ ALSO: ‘Why I used to hate living in Rome as a foreigner – and why I changed my mind’

Monti’s prime location means rents are high, and you’ll sometimes have to contend with crowds of tourists as you push your way to your front door.

But if you want to live in a fashionable and attractive neighbourhood that’s in Rome’s beating heart, you’d be hard pressed to find a better option.

Rome's trendy Monti district is a stone's throw from the Colosseum.

Rome’s trendy Monti district is a stone’s throw from the Colosseum. Photo by FILIPPO MONTEFORTE / AFP.


Heading to the northwest of the city centre, just east of Vatican City, sits the elegant residential and commercial district of Prati.

This neighbourhood’s broad avenues, attractive residences and upmarket shopping streets have historically made it preserve of upper-class Italians, many of whom work in surrounding offices or the several courthouses that fall within its boundaries.

Prati’s grid-like shape and heavily-trafficked roads mean it doesn’t have much of a neighbourhood feel, but it has plenty of sophisticated restaurants, cafes and bars.

It’s also just across the river from Villa Borghese, one of Rome’s largest and most attractive parks, with easy access to the world-class Galleria Borghese art gallery.

READ ALSO: Six essential apps that make life in Rome easier for foreign residents

Rome's Prati district is just across the river from leafy Villa Borghese.

Rome’s Prati district is just across the river from leafy Villa Borghese. Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP.