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Discover Hidden Florence with Giovanni!

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Here at Calvium, we are thrilled to have developed the Hidden Florence app, an AppTrail that transports you into the shoes of Giovanni – a 1490s wool worker.

Become immersed within renaissance Florence as you delve into the spots most tourists ignore. With the Hidden Florence app you can navigate the streets of Florence in a novel way, using both a modern and a superbly detailed period map to hunt for statutes, shrines, piazzas and palaces. As you do this, Giovanni tells you vivid tales about his neighbourhood and the city centre. He also airs his views on everything from city politics to the taverns he plays dice in, and on everyone from Lorenzo de’ Medici to the apothecary on the street corner.

Professor Fabrizio Nevola, who commissioned the app said: “We decided to create this pseudo-historical character who doesn’t really exist in the archival record, but he represents a non-elite artisan worker and an alternative voice for that period. We placed him at the end of the 1480s, which was the heyday of Renaissance Florence.”

A notable feature of this AppTrail is the dual map feature. Within the app, we wanted to be able to show the user their location on the historic Bonsignori map as well as on a more conventional, modern street map of Florence. That meant turning the original map image into a set of map tiles that could be selected and presented by the app as appropriate. Read more about the map creating process in our blog on the Hidden Florence website.

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If you’re not planning a trip to Florence you can still access the Hidden Florence content via the Hidden Florence website.

The app was commissioned by Fabrizio Nevola and David Rosenthal in conjunction and the project was funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council (UK) through the University of Exeter.

 “Working with Calvium was terrific. Their expert knowledge in designing AppTrails helped us select sites and create a narrative thread that was very much aimed at our intended users, while at the same time not losing sight of the academic research that underpins each walk. What was spectacular however, was the way in which they rose to the challenge of taking a sixteenth century woodcut map of Renaissance Florence and rendered this navigable through twenty-first century GPS technology. I had never really thought we’d be able to do this and Richard Hull just took the idea and made it happen. What emerges from this is a unique user experience and one that enriches our understanding of the Renaissance city, changing even some of the research questions that arise as we walk through its streets today.”
-Fabrizio Nevola (University of Exeter)

Watch the mini documentary behind the creation of the app below…

Download the app for iPhone or Android devices: Download for  iPhone or iPad Download for Android