New mural in Rome's Ostiense district

Vast artwork by street artist Blu

An enormous mural by Italian street artist Blu has appeared on a building on Via del Porto Fluviale in the Ostiense district of Rome.

The dramatic image features a cargo ship loaded with construction cranes and excavators under siege by an army of red soldiers clambering aboard from a rough green sea.

The mural takes up the entire side of the former barracks building and apparently the Bologna-based artist carried out the work without the aid of a mechanical lift, choosing to dangle from rappelling ropes instead.

The façade of the building – which can be seen clearly from trains leaving Ostiense in the direction of Termini – was also painted by Blu, last year. It features a series of coloured faces, with the building's windows acting as eyes.

Over the last summer Blu participated in the SanBa urban regeneration project in Rome's S. Basilio area where his mural caused a storm of controversy. Featuring a large depiction of local patron saint Basilio breaking locks, the image also included pigs dressed in police uniforms.

The mayor of Rome Ignazio Marino ordered the removal of the mural, which was dedicated to Fabrizio Ceruso, a 19-year old shot dead in 1974 during clashes with police following the evictions of 150 families in the locality. In the end Marino backed down and the city merely white-washed the offending lower right section of the mural.

Blu's work often deals with local political themes around the globe and he has been rated by The Guardian as among the world's top ten street artists.