Fabrizio NEVOLA, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK
Keywords: urban, geolocated, public history, mapping, engagement
Hidden Florence is a free app that lets you explore the Renaissance city through the eyes of historical characters, available free on AppStore and Google Play. By linking unconventional tours of Florence to the everyday lives of Renaissance Florentines, the app brings the people and places of the past to life while opening up a city overlooked by other guides.
Navigate with a stunningly detailed map from 1584 – geolocated so you can toggle between it and a modern map of Florence – and walk in the footsteps of five contemporary guides, hunting for statutes, street tabernacles, palaces and piazzas. The characters are voiced by professional actors, including James Faulkner (Game of Thrones, Da Vinci’s Demons) as Cosimo de’ Medici. At each site the historians narrate ‘Discover More’ explainers and you can click through to the Hidden Florence website for in-depth historical context.
Hidden Florence began as a prototype in 2014, with only one guide character. This new app has been written by an international team of historians of Renaissance Italy, and is a collaboration between the universities of Exeter, Cambridge and Toronto. Hidden Florence’s project partners are the National Gallery (London), Polo Museale della Toscana and Firenze Patrimonio Mondiale (UNESCO). The app is funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council (UK) through the University of Exeter and is produced by Calvium.
Project leader Professor Fabrizio Nevola (University of Exeter) said: “seeing Hidden Florence grow through a series of important collaborations with university colleagues, major galleries and other stakeholders is really exciting. We’ve brought a number of new stories about this city’s complex history to every visitor’s fingertips, using up to date technologies to present cutting edge research about gender, class and power in an accessible way”.