Augmented reality in Florence
Ever walked down a historic street and wanted to immerse yourself in the stories of its past? That’s how CICT’s Professor Fabrizio Nevola felt about Florence. Working with AR and app development specialists Calvium, Fabrizio created an immersive AR experience that takes users on a cultural tour through 15th century Renaissance Florence, led by a faithful guide, Giovanni, a 1490s wool worker.
The app uses audio-visual and geo-locative media to transport users back 600 years to Giovanni’s home town. Complete with a digitized copy of the famous Bonsignori Map – drawn in 1576 and the most accurate visual description of Renaissance Florence – users engage imaginatively with the city as a lived experience. Throughout the tour, Giovanni will tell you vivid tales about his neighbourhood and the city centre, airing his views on everything from city politics to the taverns in which he plays dice, and on everyone from Lorenzo de’ Medici to the apothecary on the street corner.
Fabrizio’s use of digital media enables a greater connection with the anthropology, or ‘microhistories’, of daily life and place, which has provided new insights into the nature of identity, power and agency in the early modern world. While ‘place’ has always had a central role in understanding urban histories, more recently historians have turned to the idea that ‘space’ itself is produced by the interaction between people and the built environment. Movement has become central to this new urban history – the notion that moving through the streets becomes a dynamic process by which both the spaces of the city and one’s sense of identity and community are shaped.