A fantastic new series of three episodes that launched this year was Italy’s Invisible Cities: BBC One about uncovering the hidden cities in the urban areas of Naples, Venice, and Florence. The episodes are presented by Alexander Armstrong and Dr Michael Scott in partnership with ScanLAB Projects as they explore the hidden spaces that have helped these great cities change the world. The programmes bring a fascinating, fresh perspective to 2,000 years of history, from the original Roman bath complex outside Naples, through the reign of the Venetian Doge’s to the birth of the Renaissance in Florence.
I’m travelling to Italy this year where I’ll be close to Naples to visit Pompeii and Herculaneum, however, even though I won’t be able to stay long in the area, this captivating episode on Naples have immersed me into the culture and hidden ancient history underneath the modern city. A must see! Even the episode on Venice and Florence are engaging, educational, and will create a sense of awe and wonderment for these beautiful landscapes where human life thrived.
Here is a trailer on the series.
ScanLAB Projects uses new technology to uncover hidden areas in these areas. In the Bay of Naples they scan frescoes underwater using sub-sea LIDAR techniques. In Venice the entire length of the Grand Canal is mapped in the only way possible – from a moving boat. And in Florence, the entire Vasari corridor is mapped in under an hour using mobile, backpack scanning.
Each show ends with an immersive experience as the presenters use VR headsets and revisit key locations virtually. This final dissection process in VR gives the freedom to explore entire locations at 1:1 scale and as miniature dollshouse replicas, offering new and engaging perspectives while you sit at home!
Check out the 360 degree virtual realities below!
Naples in 360: Italy’s Invisible Cities – BBC Taster
Using the latest 3D scanning technology, Alexander Armstrong and Dr Michael Scott uncover 2.500 years of hidden history in Naples, from its earliest Greek and Roman origins. They explore how the volcano of Mount Vesuvius both nurtured the region and exacted a terrible price on the local population. Plus, they delve into a labyrinth of fascinating underground spaces that helped build and sustain the city.
Venice in 360: Italy’s Invisible Cities – BBC Taster
Alexander Armstrong and Dr Michael Scott explore the watery wonderland of Venice. They uncover how a city built in a swamp became one of the most powerful in medieval Europe and dive into its canals to experience how the city remains standing. Plus, they reveal how the city’s beauty once masked a ruthless secret state and a world of excess and vice.
Florence in 360: Italy’s Invisible Cities – BBC Taster
Alexander Armstrong and Dr Michael Scott explore the romantic city of Florence. They reveal how its wonderful facades and artworks mask a hidden story of intrigue and secrecy, and one powerful dynasty was behind it all – the Medicis, godfathers of the Renaissance. Finally, the scanning team build a virtual reality 3D model to reveal how the city’s secret corridors of power were the foundation of the city’s Renaissance glory.
For more information visit the BBC’s website on Italy’s Invisible Cities: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0881gfb