Decrypting Italian Graffiti Symbols
March 7, 2007 12:44 PM   Subscribe

Italian graffiti: questions about two common symbols in modern spray art.

There are two standouts I'm curious about.

The first is what could be described as a "rifle sight": a circle overlaid by an overlapping cross. This symbol most often stands alone and is pretty common. It's not the Anarchist's circle-A but I thought perhaps it was related. I've got no clue as to what this one's about.

The second I know is loosely translated as "basso" or "down with" and looks like two overlapping V's and always used in conjunction with whatever we're wishing down and sometimes shown inverted in what I understand is the reverse -- "up with". I've been able to figure out (obviously) the "what", here, but is anyone familiar with the etymology? Perhaps some clarification on its use? I -thought- I saw it used formally in a town where a nice cloth banner read "VV the class of 88" or so and that didn't quite jibe so maybe my guide for this information was only partially correct in her understanding.
posted by Ogre Lawless to Media & Arts (8 answers total)
"rifle sight" = fascism, "VV" = viva
posted by baklavabaklava at 1:36 PM on March 7, 2007

the "rifle sight" is a croce celtica

VV is Viva, ie "long live"
posted by matteo at 2:03 PM on March 7, 2007

and yes the Celtic cross is a symbol used by young Fascists and neonazis
posted by matteo at 2:04 PM on March 7, 2007

and it's not "basso", it's "abbasso", and yes it means "down with"
posted by matteo at 2:05 PM on March 7, 2007

Sweet -- thanks all. Clearly got the up/down translation incorrect :)
posted by Ogre Lawless at 2:55 PM on March 7, 2007

VV=viva=long live...; upside-down VV=abbasso=down with...

incidentally, italians will tend to write a W as two overlapping v's.
posted by progosk at 4:25 PM on March 7, 2007

Italians will tend to write a W as two overlapping v's

Ahh, I wondered why baklavabaklava's photo shows an uncircled VW logo.
posted by Rash at 11:58 AM on March 9, 2007

« Older ¿Cómo se dice tutor en español?   |   Suggested treatment for bone loss in mouth, what... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.