Introduction

Calvium worked with Art History and Visual Culture professors Fabrizio Nevola and David Rosenthal from the University of Exeter to create the Hidden Florence app. The free app takes you on a unique tour of the Renaissance city through the eyes of a ‘contemporary’ guide, a 1490’s wool worker called Giovanni. Following in Giovanni’s footsteps allows the visitor to engage imaginatively with Renaissance Florence as a lived experience, while going to places that most tourist guides tend to neglect.

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Background

Fabrizio and David have always been interested in connecting people and their surroundings with history. Wanting to attract new audiences to unexplored areas of Florence, as well as enabling a way to engage audiences, they thought that a mobile app would be the best way to do this.

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.

Fabrizio Nevola, University of Exeter

Results

Calvium worked with the team from Exeter university to create the Florentine AppTrail. With the app, users can navigate the streets of Florence in a novel way, using both a modern and superbly detailed period map to hunt for statues, 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. Essentially, the Hidden Florence app connects people to the city, entertaining them whilst not neglecting the historical research underpinning the project.

On Christmas day 2016, Hidden Florence was featured on Richard Ayoade’s hit TV show, Travel Man. Using Giovani as their guide, Richard fancied around Florence with Hollywood Actress Rebel Wilson, who we thought summed up the app nicely…

“It’s like playing Pokémon Go… but with historical sites!’

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Richard Ayoade & Rebel Wilson on Channel 4’s Travel Man.