The Art History and Visual Culture is involved with a number of research projects funded by organisations such as the Arts and Humanities Research Council and Wellcome Trust.

Featured project

Hidden Florence

Hidden Florence is a website and a free smartphone app that takes you on a unique tour of the Renaissance city through the eyes of a “contemporary” guide, a 1490s wool worker called Giovanni. Following in Giovanni’s footsteps allows the visitor to engage imaginatively with Renaissance Florence as a lived experience, while going to places that most tourist guides tend to neglect.

Created by Professor Fabrizio Nevola, a historian of Italian Renaissance at the University of Exeter, who led the project. He worked with historian Dr David Rosenthal, a visiting lecturer at the University of Edinburgh and with App developer Calvium to utilise a 1584 (16th century) city map created by Benedictine monk Stefano Bonsignori and pegged it to a modern street map of Florence.

Hidden Florence website


Giovanni is an artisan, a 1490s wool worker at the height of the power of Lorenzo de’ Medici. Through Giovanni, the visitor is given a sense of the Renaissance city as a lived experience: the structures of everyday life; and the rhythms that took men to taverns, streetcorners, the piazza, the workplace, the food market. 

Learn more

Explore the app

A short promotional film describing the research aims and functionalities of the Hidden Florence app.

All projects