Fly over and discover ancient Rome without moving from your armchair

Fly over and discover ancient Rome without moving from your armchair

A user with immersive glasses or a simple computer can fly over the Eternal City of the early fourth century and visit the forum and the Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine.

Archaeologists are crossing the Rubicon: they want to reconcile the most august remains of ancient Rome with the prowess of modern technology. The ruins of the Eternal city now welcome visitors without having to travel. After two decades of preparation, a virtual reality project was presented on Wednesday by the company Flyover Zone in collaboration with researchers from Indiana University.

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“In two to three years, we will add more sites like the Colosseum and the Pantheon “

Bernard Frischer, professor at Indiana University

Rome Reborn,” the renaissance of Rome”, offers users from all over the world to experience the Rome of the beginning of the fourth century using virtual reality glasses or a simple computer. The user can board a virtual hot air balloon to fly over the splendors of the Imperial city over 14 square kilometers, or more than 7,000 buildings and monuments.

Two famous sites can be explored more precisely: the forum, the heart of ancient Rome, and the nearby Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine. It is possible to alternate visiting the monuments as they were at the time with views of the current ruins. The virtual walker can also listen to the explanations of the experts on the characters and monuments encountered.

“We chose the year 320 because we have a maximum of information about this period,” just before the capital of the empire was transferred to Constantinople, explained Bernard Frischer, professor at Indiana University and specialist in digital reconstructions.

22 years and $ 3 million later

“The idea came to me in 1974. I was determined to find a way to bring these wonderful monuments to the world, but the technology did not yet exist, ” continued Bernard Frischer.

Flyover Zone, the company that puts these virtual trips up for sale, wants to make the topography and architecture of ancient Rome understandable. All three applications are available for download on the various platforms. On the iTunes Store, the app dedicated to the basilica costs€ 2.29, the one on the forum€ 7.99 and the one for the city overview € 6.99. On Microsoft, the first is at€ 1.99 and the other two are one euro cheaper than on Apple’s platform. In both cases, only the English language is available.

“We had to revise the model three times as the technology progressed, but after 22 years and $ 3 million, we finally got there,” said the archaeologist.

“Within two to three years, we will add other sites like the Colosseum and the Pantheon”, two emblematic monuments of the Eternal City, promised Bernard Frischer. Eventually, users with virtual reality goggles will be able to train with the gladiators in the Colosseum or challenge themselves in a chariot race on the Maximus Circus.

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Flyover Zone, the company behind the project, also intends to resurrect Athens in the time of Socrates and Jerusalem in the time of Jesus. A project that will allow pilgrims to prepare for the visit of Jerusalem, disastrous for some believers who suffer serious emotional crises there.

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