The MAAM in Rome: the only inhabited museum in the world.

Prenestina, Tor Sapienza. An area in the suburbs that you can’t even recognize as Rome. But then follow the navigator and you arrive at your destination: number 913, a gate full of mailboxes with dozens of names on them… welcome to Metropoliz!


Metropoliz is the mestizo city of Rome born ten years ago, when in March 2009 the Metropolitan Precarious Blocks helped a group of men, women and children to occupy the headquarters of the former Fiorucci factory. These were about 60 families who had lost their homes due to the crisis and were in a fairly critical situation. Italians, Peruvians, Africans, soon joined by the Roma of a community in the area, overcome the initial language difficulties, began to clean up those spaces and, day after day, to create a kind of small town on the eastern outskirts of the capital.


And let’s talk about Metropoliz with the “z”, not with the “s” like the famous film by Fritz Lang. Because here the residents (now more than 600), as my friend and artist Carlo Gori told me, fight daily for their rights, they put their face on it.

Being the result of an abusive occupation, for the mestizo city of Rome the spectre of eviction is always around the corner. Added to this is the fact that the company Salini Impregilo, owner of the building, has filed a lawsuit with the aim of regaining the property to make it yet another shopping center in the area.


But a few years ago, someone decided to look at this kind of Babel.

In 2012, Giorgio de Finis, current director of MACRO in Rome, involved the locals in a new project: “since nobody wants you, why don’t we all go to the Moon?” This is how “Space Metropoliz” was born, the documentary video that tells the story of this place.

The setting up of the set involved the involvement of all the “aliens” of Metropoliz: adults and children had an active part in the realization of the rocket leaving for the terrestrial satellite.
Numerous important street artists were also involved in the production of the set.


When the project was over, says De Finis, the inhabitants themselves asked him to stay. And so, from the experience of the documentary “Space Metropoliz”, the MAAM, the Museum of the Other and the Elsewhere of Metropoliz, was born.

It is a real museum of contemporary art, the only one in the world, among other things, to be inhabited! The success of the initiative was so extraordinary that many artists decided to collect the call of De Finis.
Art becomes the instrument that “sanctifies” and consecrates this illegal city whose walls are now signed by some of the most important contemporary artists in the world: Alice Pasquini, the greatest Roman street artist, Pablo Echaurren, Solo, Lukamaleonte and Kobra, are just some of the big names in the MAAM.


Michelangelo Pistoletto also liked the project, and for a while he exhibited his famous Venus of Rags there. The Castello di Rivoli, one of the most important museums of contemporary art in Italy, has instead donated a work from its collection.

In short, it is composed of a real barricade of art that hopefully will save the fate of the mestizo city of Rome from its destruction. In the meantime, the current Capitoline Council has requested the Superintendence to affix a constraint, given the value of the works contained in the MAAM.


Metropoliz is a strong blow, an experience that leaves you breathless.

Contemporary art and Tosatti’s telescope at the top of the factory really catapult you to the Moon, to another dimension, almost out of the world…but then a child’s smile is enough and you immediately return to Earth, touching with your hands all the drama of the housing emergency in Rome…


The MAAM can be visited every Saturday (guided tour at 11am and a second at 3pm).

Go there!


Posted by Sara Pandozzi

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