Rentals. Alvar and his “Stanze Bolognesissime”, between parody and (sad) reality

Perhaps the name of Alvar Aaltissimo it will be little known to you, but it will certainly sound at least strange to you. And indeed it is: Alvar Aaltissimo does not exist. This is, in fact, only the pseudonym of Fabrizio, a 28-year-old architect who, in his spare time, devotes himself to his alter ego. Alvar Aaltissimo, in fiction, runs an architecture studio where Fabrizio works as an intern.

In reality, Alvar is the author of the book “Very Bolognese rooms” (to be released on 28 October by Corraini Edizioni), a collection – between serious and parody – of the announcements for student rooms for rent in the Emilian capital. “The project was born in 2016 – says Fabrizio, interviewed by Bologna Today –, when I was at the university. It was a different time than today. At the time there weren’t all these ironic pages and profiles, Instagram it had just exploded and I had created this satirical page to lighten a bit the world of architecture which, from my point of view as a student, was a bit too serious”.

Over time the page has evolved and several projects have arisen from there. Including “Stanze Bolognesissime”: “The book was born as the second volume of a book that always concerns the rental market and which is called “Stanze Milanesissime”. In a nutshell, it was a reading of the state of rental housing in Milan. This, of course, with an ironic and surreal character, but still plausible. The theme is common to several cities, especially Bologna, where the situation is dramatic”.

And in fact the comparison is apt, even if Bologna has significant negative differences: “Costs are high in both cities but in Bologna the offer is scarce and of low quality. In Milan the costs are very high but you rarely find ads like you find in Bologna. The least you can find there are basement rooms. In Bologna there are truly dramatic situations: beds on the sofa, overcrowded rooms and so on. This is probably related to the architectural heritage: the historical center is very consolidated, the periphery is smaller and there are few new buildings where some situations – such as low ceilings or structural problems of the buildings – hardly occur”.

All the criticality of the situation is documented by stories collected by BolognaToday –sadly real and where parody has nothing to do with it-: like that, for example, of the apartment with rooms without windows (but lots of surprise swimming pool) or the rental announcement complete with height limits underlined, as well as the outbursts and the letters of protest come from many quarters about the difficult situation of the rental market. A sum that makes you think.

“Stanze Bolognesissime” is therefore an ironic and paradoxical cross-section of the Bologna market, but only up to a certain point: between underwater rooms or beds placed vertically due to the limited space there is also something true: “Many people find themselves in ads in the book. The images are fake, for the most part they are 3D models and renders, but in some cases they are tracings of actual, real images. The graphic style is the same, but some rooms are real. The game is precisely that of not making people understand which room is absurd and impossible and which one is probable”.

Students, tourism and the “big hotel” Bologna: “Market without decades-long rules and processes”

(All images and models by Alvar Aaltissimo –

Rentals. Alvar and his “Stanze Bolognesissime”, between parody and (sad) reality