Tuesday, May 21, 2019
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History Lovers Can Travel to Ancient Rome in a Large Scale Virtual Reality Experience

An ambitious project brings Ancient Rome back to life in an incredibly detailed virtual reality experience.

Reading about great civilizations makes many people say: “I wish I could see it for myself”. If you are passionate about the history of Ancient Rome, your wish has come true. You can now take a tour of Rome in the year 320 A.D. in an incredibly detailed virtual reality experience.

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Rome Reborn – An Ambitious Project with Remarkable Results

The virtual reality experience called Rome Reborn is the result of the work of a passionate digital archeologist. Bernard Frischer of Indiana University worked together with a team of 50 scientists and computer experts for 20 years to complete this project.

This is probably the largest scale virtual reality experience of a historical site. Rome Reborn recreates an area of 5.5 square miles of Ancient Rome with 7,000 monuments and buildings.

 

Take a Fly-By or Stop for a Closer Look

The virtual reality experience offers two types of exploration. Users can take a look at the entire site in a fly-by experience. This bird’s eye view covers all the structures recreated in VR by the team of experts. It takes around 2 hours to complete this type of tour.

Flight Over Ancient Rome; Source: Rome Reborn

For those who want to feel like Ancient Romans walking through the Eternal City, Rome Reborn offers the option to walk through some of the key buildings. At the moment, only the Basilica of Maxentius and the Roman Forum are available. However, the team of developers is still working on the project and will release more virtual reality experiences:

  • The Coliseum
  • The Imperial Fora
  • The Pantheon
  • The Imperial Palace on the Palatine Hill.

 

Using Real Archeological Data to Bring an Ancient City Back to Life

Bernard Frischer has been dreaming about this project for decades. “I first came up with the idea in 1974. I was determined to find a way to bring these wonderful monuments to the world, but the technology didn’t exist then. We had to redesign the model three times as technology advanced, but 22 years after we began, and US$3 million later, we’re finally here,” he explained to Agence France-Presse, as quoted in South China Morning Post.

rome reborn - testing roman forum
Three 12-year-old boys test Rome Reborn’s app presenting the Roman Forum in Rieti, Italy on May 26, 2018 ; Source: Rome Reborn

The choice for 320 A.D. as the period featured in the virtual reality experience of Ancient Rome comes from the fact that this is the era with the most information available to archeologists. Users are able to toggle between the VR recreation and the present day look of the respective area. In this way, they can appreciate the developers’ painstaking work.

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Most of the buildings and monuments featured in the virtual reality experience have left little traces behind. A piece of marble here, part of a statue there – that is all that visitors to Rome can see. They need to make a great effort of imagination to picture the ancient splendor of the place. Now, with Rome Reborn, they just need to put on their VR headset and step into Ancient Rome.

You can purchase any of the VR products at this link. Rome Reborn is available for the following platforms: Oculus, VIVE, Apple and Microsoft.

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