Art hides everywhere, often in unimaginable places, such as train stations and underground spaces. Just as frequently, it’s right in front of our eyes every day, and we don’t even notice it. We’re talking about public works of art, hidden – but not so much – among the streets and buildings of Italian cities that go unnoticed. We have selected five for you to discover. Let’s find out what they are.
#1 Adolfo Wildt’s Ear
In Milan, near the famous Villa Necchi-Campiglio, specifically at the number 10 of Via Serbelloni, there is a sculpture by Adolfo Wildt, created in 1927. It is an ear, placed in a niche of the building, known by the Milanese as “La Cà de l’Oreggia.” Actually, it’s not just a sculptural work but a real intercom. In the past, you could communicate with the concierge by speaking into the ear. Because of this unique detail, it is often referred to as “Italy’s first intercom.” Today, those who visit this “hidden sculpture” whisper a wish into the ear, hoping it will come true.
#2 The building with the piercing
In Turin, there is a building with a piercing. We’re talking about the artwork “Baci Urbani” by Corrado Levi, positioned on the corner of a building overlooking Piazzetta Corpus Domini. More precisely, it’s on the corner of the fourth floor of the building located at civic number 19. The artwork was created by artist Levi in collaboration with the group of artists and architects known as Cliostraat, who aim to work on urban spaces. The decision to adorn an eighteenth-century building with a piercing, a symbol of modernity and rebellion, reflects the artists’ desire to connect tradition with a space, both in concrete and abstract terms. If you look closely, you can see that “blood” flows from the two “holes,” with one side being red and the other blue, symbolizing the blood of the proletariat and that of the nobility.
#3 Clet Abraham’s road signs
Road signs are the means through which the city communicates with its citizens, regulating its flow and movements. Building on this insight, the French street artist Clet Abraham decides to artistically intervene on them, using them as genuine supports for his works. Among other cities, he also does this in beautiful Florence. The artist works extensively, focusing on the historic center. If you pay attention, you can find many of them, with some interventions located in Piazza della Signoria, Piazza Duomo, and even at the Belvedere of Piazzale Michelangelo.
#4 The Banksy‘s Madonna with the Gun
Among the five, this is perhaps the most famous, but despite being in one of the most central points of Naples, it can easily go unnoticed. We’re talking about the first intervention in Italy by the world’s most famous street artist, Banksy. It’s the artwork often referred to as “The Madonna with the Gun,” which is now protected by a display case. It is located in Piazza Gerolomini, just steps away from Via Duomo. It could be mistaken for a religious symbol, of which Naples is filled, but it is, in fact, a statement by the Bristol artist. The Madonna’s halo is replaced by a revolver, symbolizing – in a provocative manner – the increasingly close connection between the sacred and the profane.
#5 The Arnaldo Pomodoro Labyrinth
With the last artwork, we return to Milan and move away from the street. In fact, more precisely, we take you underground. We’re talking about one of the most sensational works by the sculptor Arnaldo Pomodoro, who in 1995 began creating a true sculptural labyrinth. It is located in Via Solari, 35 and is a hidden gem of Milan that not everyone is aware of, partly due to its unique entrance. To access the Labyrinth, one must enter the Fendi Showroom. Once you step inside, you’ll enter the magical and mystical world of Pomodoro, who spent nearly twenty years creating this massive installation.
Read Also: Five Open-Air Artworks in Italy