Italy’s return to greatness?

Have you ever been dragged around ancient archaeological sites under a boiling-hot sun? If you grew up in Greece or—like me—in Italy, then you definitely have childhood memories of “ruin indigestion.” Enter Rome Reborn 1.0. Now you don’t have to brave the blazing summer sun and trudge around endless fallen columns and past armless statues ...

601347_070611_rome_05.jpg
601347_070611_rome_05.jpg

Have you ever been dragged around ancient archaeological sites under a boiling-hot sun? If you grew up in Greece or—like me—in Italy, then you definitely have childhood memories of "ruin indigestion."

Enter Rome Reborn 1.0. Now you don't have to brave the blazing summer sun and trudge around endless fallen columns and past armless statues to see what ancient civilization once wrought: An international team of academics from Europe and the United States has digitally reconstructed imperial Rome as it appeared in A.D. 320. The team behind the project, a 10-year joint effort by the University of Virginia, the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), and the Italy's Politecnico di Milano, claims their reconstruction is "the biggest, most complete simulation of an historic city ever created."

Indeed, the model Rome seems very impressive. And as an Italian, I'm proud to note that my country provided not only its famous archaeologists and classicists, but also its best computer engineers. Gabriele Guidi of INDACO Lab at the Italian Politecnico di Milano—ScienceDaily reports—fairly bubbles with ambition:

Have you ever been dragged around ancient archaeological sites under a boiling-hot sun? If you grew up in Greece or—like me—in Italy, then you definitely have childhood memories of “ruin indigestion.”

Enter Rome Reborn 1.0. Now you don’t have to brave the blazing summer sun and trudge around endless fallen columns and past armless statues to see what ancient civilization once wrought: An international team of academics from Europe and the United States has digitally reconstructed imperial Rome as it appeared in A.D. 320. The team behind the project, a 10-year joint effort by the University of Virginia, the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), and the Italy’s Politecnico di Milano, claims their reconstruction is “the biggest, most complete simulation of an historic city ever created.”

Indeed, the model Rome seems very impressive. And as an Italian, I’m proud to note that my country provided not only its famous archaeologists and classicists, but also its best computer engineers. Gabriele Guidi of INDACO Lab at the Italian Politecnico di Milano—ScienceDaily reports—fairly bubbles with ambition:

The project was an enormous technical challenge, and now that we have successfully met it, we can easily start building up a library of other city models in museums around the world.”

With its abundance of cultural heritage sites, Italy is the ideal place for further developing this branch of 3D modeling. And for Italy’s universities, often castigated by The Economist, Rome Reborn 1.0 is a good chance to redeem their reputation.

Erica Alini is a Rome-based researcher for the Associated Press.

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