THE LAST GRAND TOUR. Contemporary Phenomena and Strategies of Living in Italy


  • A visually attractive graphic and textual atlas that combines topics of architecture and urban design with current political and socio-economic questions to form a multi-perspective portrait of 21st-century Italy
  • Some 60 concise texts explore instructive aspects of urban housing
  • Contributions by distinguished practitioners, researchers, and teachers of architecture and urban design
  • Lavishly illustrated, featuring rich previously unpublished graphs, photographs, and visualisations


Since antiquity, Italy has been the origin of key themes of Western architecture and culture, many of which have evolved in exemplary and universally valid ways. Many of these continue to provide an inspiring frame of reference until today. Emulating the tradition and itinerary of the classic Grand Tour of European aristocrats, this comprehensive and visually appealing book takes a nuanced look at Italy today. Around the aspect of housing as a hub, it offers new narratives and positions on current issues and developments that are highly relevant also outside Italy.

In the format of a graphic and textual atlas, the volume explores Italy at various scales. Zooming in and out of themes, cities, and regions, it allows for associative and non-linear comprehension and reflection. Housing is examined as a complex construct, acted upon by diverging interests and needs as well as historical legacies. The spatial aspect of living, with its huge impact on the limited resource of land and the landscape, is the starting point for the proposals and strategies the book offers. Its audience reaches beyond the professional architecture community, aiming at anyone with an interest in the much-debated topic of (affordable) housing and in 21st-century Italy.

> Michael Obrist is an architect and co-founder of the Vienna-based firm feld72 architekten, and a Professor of Housing and Design at TU Wien’s Faculty of Architecture and Planning. Antonietta Putzu is an architect who works as a research assistant in the Research Unit Housing and Design at TU Wien’s Faculty of Architecture and Planning.