In this fresh, unfamiliar, and sometimes surprising picture of modern Italy, history is refracted through the prism of the nation's consumer culture. What were Italians eating and drinking over this period? Where did they live? What did they do in their leisure time? What did they choose to spend their spare money on? And how did this differ between different economic classes and over time? From the battle against poverty conducted by the first liberal governments of a united Italy, to fascist autarchy, up to the emergence of welfare policies and today's multifaceted society, Scarpellini looks at how the material culture associated with consumption has structured Italian life and defined the boundaries of class, gender, generations, and regional differences, inspiring government policies, and influencing the worlds of art and literature. Keeping a constant eye on wider historical trends, both in Italy and internationally, the book looks at how the basic triad of consumer culture (food, housing, and clothing) slowly developed into a more complex pattern, incorporating transport, domestic appliances, and then electronics, communications, and fashion. Combining economic and cultural history with a vivid narrative style, this book is essential reading for anyone interested in the history of modern Italy and of consumption more generally in the last century and a half.