Graffiti Photography: My Favorite Urban Art Murals In Milan

LifeGate Wall by Opel – Peonies for sustainability in Milan, Italy

I have been a fan of graffiti and street art in general since I was a little kid; my maternal grandparents used to live in the suburbs of Milan and I would often walk with my grandmother to the grocery store, in the same area where the kindergarten I attended was located. There used to be an immense mural artwork right next to the supermarket and it was amazing to look at its vivid colors every time we were passing by.

Nowadays I look for street art every time I visit a new city because I think graffiti is part of the identity of a place; it used to be considered vandalism but is now generally recognized as a form of art. In Milan, some artists are commissioned to create a mural for an advertising brand and the artwork becomes part of its surrounding environment. Some mural artworks have also been realized with the aim to promote various themes like sustainability and ecological awareness; the citizens have begun to show appreciation for these artworks and they frequently ask the City Hall not to remove them.

I have photographed plenty of murals in Milan over the years and they’re all available to see in my Graffiti album on Flickr, which also includes street art photography from around the world. I enjoy discovering new street art whenever I go for a walk in the city and below I have rounded up ten of my favorite urban art murals in Milan. Some of them may not be available anymore, as artists tend to redo their work on old murals, especially for street art contests.

Tim Burton's Queen of Hearts.
Tim Burton’s Queen of Hearts

1) Queen of Hearts from Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland: a few years ago I took a picture with this beautiful artwork representing the Queen of Hearts played by Helena Bonham Carter in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland (such a great fantasy movie!)

I was driving by when I saw the mural, so I found it completely by chance and I asked my mother to take a picture of me with this amazingly eccentric character. I don’t know who the author is but the mural is part of the series of street art painted on the external wall of Milan’s Hippodrome, which was done in accordance with the City Hall to improve the image of Milan with an impressive display of creativity.

It - Street Art.
Stephen King’s Pennywise (IT)

2) Pennywise (from Stephen King’s IT): I know for sure that this graffiti artwork was erased a couple of years ago to make room for some new street art, as I took this picture in 2017. This was probably made to celebrate the theatrical release of Stephen King’s IT in the fall of the same year. I remember Halloween was just around the corner and I was reading horror books and watching horror movies (like I usually do around this time of the year) so I thought Pennywise’s face was so wonderfully scary that I had to take a picture with it. This giant horror graffiti was realized on a high wall near the Navigli area by the Nuclear One crew, a group of street artists that have created lots of different murals in Milan over the years. It was both intimidating and exciting to see it in person!

Gucci Art Wall.
Gucci Art Wall – August 2021

3) Gucci Art Wall: this is a huge urban canvas about 176 meters high that covers an entire building façade and has been narrating Gucci’s artistic world since 2016. Located in Corso Garibaldi, one of the most popular and iconic neighborhoods in Milan, this artwork changes every month and it is painted with great attention to details, always succeeding in creating spectacular works of art related to the Gucci universe. This one was made in August 2021, it was titled “Gucci Beloved” and featured Harry Styles and James Corden to introduce some of Gucci’s most iconic bags (with Harry Styles carrying the iconic Jackie 1961 bag). This mural was also part of a Gucci campaign around the world and this kind of artwork appeared in New York and Hong Kong as well.

Red Vespa.
Red Vespa – NoLo

4) Red Vespa: this is probably one of the best urban artworks in NoLo (which stands for “North of Loreto”, a Milan district located in the North-Eastern part of the city) and it was included in a project launched by the City Hall titled “Muri Liberi”(Free Walls); about 100 walls around Milan were assigned to street artists to let them express their creativity by improving the aesthetics of some areas in the city. The Red Vespa mural is my favorite and it is part of what may be called an open-air urban art museum, which counts about fourteen murals. This series of graffiti is located just under the railway tunnel that extends for an entire km and has contributed to the urban renewal of the district; what was once mainly considered a very dangerous area is now a hipster and cool district that has recently been compared to New York’s Brooklyn and London’s Shoreditch.

Inspired by Arctic Beauty.
Face by Artkademy

5) Face by Artkademy: I took this picture in the Navigli area about five years ago and this beautiful mural has since been taken down, as it was one of the artworks realized by Artkademy, a collective of artists creating projects meant to redevelop and embellish the grey walls of not only Milan, but also other Italian cities like Naples, Rome and Catania. This one might have been painted by Mr. Wany, who is a pretty popular artist on the graffiti scene. The organization aims to promote art in all its forms and create a social impact on the city. I remember this giant work of art was pretty impressive to see and it fully shows the artist’s talent and creativity.

La Sirène - The Mermaid.
The Mermaid

6) The Mermaid: this mermaid was painted along with other murals in the Naviglio Grande area and it is one of the most beautiful graffiti I have ever seen; I also find it quite relaxing to look at, with all the shades of green and blue. I first spotted it more than four years ago while getting home from work with my father and we stopped the car to take a look at all the beautiful murals. Its colors are brilliant and it is a perfect example of graffiti telling a story; it is about water, mermaids and shells and it is very rich in details. I don’t know if it’s still there, as street art tends to be changeable and some works may be taken down to make room for other graffiti. This district is one of the best in Milan to spot new urban artworks, and it contributes to make Milan one of the best cities for street art.


7) Anthropoceano: I got a first glimpse of this mural called “Anthropoceano” a couple of years ago from the window of a train departing from Milan. That’s because this graffiti is located in the area of Lambrate and it covers the entire façade of a building that can easily be seen from the railway. This amazing artwork is by Federico Massa, known among street artists as Iena Cruz; it aims to link together street art and environmental awareness and it describes our impact on the oceans. The artist explained that “the artwork is meant to bring out a reflection about the scars we leave on the ocean as human beings and that have a massive impact on the environment.” The artwork also follows the story of plastic, since its origins in an oil platform to its negative environmental impact, especially regarding the oceans, with a link to the themes of fish hunting in the depiction of whales.

Je Vous Salue Marie, Pleine de Grâce.
Madonna of the Writers

8) Madonna of the Writers: located in the Porta Ticinese district, it is part of a series of colorful murals that includes Giuseppe Verdi and Napoleon Bonaparte. This Madonna was painted by street artist Max Gatto and it symbolizes a Madonna of the Writers, as it is evidenced by the spray bottle cap . It may represent miracles and a feeling of hope and joy. I have often come across this wonderful artwork over the years and its beauty is something unique in its originality. Together with the other painted walls, it creates a 40-meter-long mural displaying the facts and the illustrious characters that are part of the history of Milan. The mural also hosts the brilliant artwork of St. Ambrose by street artist Neve.

Porta Romana Bella.
Porta Romana Bella

9) Porta Romana Bella: I took a picture of this giant mural artwork at the beginning of 2022 on a very grey day and it seemed to infuse light to the whole avenue. The mural is called “Porta Romana Bella”, evoking a famous popular song about the city of Milan, and it is an homage to the district of Porta Romana, one of the main areas in Milan’s city centre.

The graffiti was made by street artists Orticanoodles and Marco Goran Romano, who first presented their work during last year’s Art Week, to celebrate the beauty of this typical Milanese district, an initiative that was promoted by the YesMilano committee. This aims to promote Milan’s different areas, with graffiti artworks realized in the districts of Bovisa, Lorenteggio and Città Studi as well.

Corso di Porta Romana - Milan, Italy.
“The Vision” by Cheone
Santa Claus Murales.
“The Xmas Vision” by Cheone
Graffiti Butterfly.
“Time to Fly” by Cheone

10) The Vision, The Xmas Vision and Time to Fly: these are three different works of art that have been created on the same building façade over different periods of time by famous street artist Cosimo Caiffa, known as Cheone, who is probably one of my all-time favorite street artists. I have enjoyed every artwork he’s made throughout the years; he has now expanded all over Italy and he is often been commissioned mural artworks for brands to advertise their products (like the ScalaPay mural on the Corso Garibaldi). This mural started with an homage to Catalan architect Gaudí titled “The Vision”, with the façade painted in a surrealist way reminiscent of Gaudi’s Casa Batlló; the residents fell in love with the visual power of street art and they even wanted to sign a petition for the mural not to be taken down! With the use of the trompe-l’œil technique, the artist creates an optical illusion that makes it feel as if the building is melting right in front of the viewer’s eyes. By the end of 2021, the building got a restyling just in time for Christmas, when Cheone added a Santa Claus on the façade, and the immersive artwork was renamed “The Xmas Vision”, a wonderful way for the artist to wish Merry Christmas to residents and visitors alike. The artwork was visible until the last day of 2021, when it was entirely remade to host butterflies on the building façade. The new artwork was created again in collaboration with Clear Channel Italia and it was titled “Time to Fly”, with two hands that are freeing the butterflies, as some of them even perch on the balconies! This colorful graffiti was available to see in the first months of 2022 and it was a symbol of spring and rebirth; it gave me the feeling that happiness can be found in the simple things.

Snow Queen
Thank You To All Healthcare Workers.
Never Forget

{Bonus Features} Snow Queen and Never Forget: these two murals can be considered this article’s bonus features.

The Snow Queen mural was made in 2017 by street artist Neve in the Navigli district as part of the Artkademy project. This street artist is one of the most famous in Italy, as he’s been working with graffiti since 1995. According to his site at, “he often depicts human subjects that are suspended between the real world and the dreamlike, in a delicate expression of figurative art that unites his inner life to the outside world.” He has been commissioned various mural artworks from brands like Disney and Ikea and he has also showcased his works in different cities around the world, like Paris and New York.

I only got a partial viewing of the second mural, which was made by artist Lapo Fatai as an homage to doctors, nurses, pharmacists and caregivers who helped fight the COVID pandemic in the last couple of years. It is located next to the San Luca hospital in Milan, and its title translates from Italian as “Never Forget”, with a 90-meter artwork that conveys a message of both hope and gratitude.

Additional notes:

I hope you enjoyed having a look at my favorite urban artworks and that you will have the chance to see some of them whenever you visit Milan.

Thank you to all the street artists that have improved the aesthetics of my native city through their creative vision and amazing talent.

The quote about street artist Neve’s work comes from his website and has been extracted from a text written by Nancy T.

All pictures are my own.

For other street art photography, visit my Graffiti Photography album on Flickr.

%d bloggers like this: