CARACALLA 4D: VIDEO VIRTUAL GUIDE
all year round
Baths of Caracalla – viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 52. Opening hours: every day from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm, Monday from 9:00 am to 2:30 pm – full price ticket € 8, reduced price ticket € 4, free admission for visitors under the age of 18 + multi-language audio/video virtual guide € 7
Tel. 06 39967700 | www.coopculture.it
An epic journey back in time. With the help of virtual reality goggles, tourists and citizens visiting the roman Baths of Caracalla can witness the site in its original glory and get an inside look of what the bath house looked like in 216 AD, at the time of its inauguration. A conceptual bridge between past, present and future, this is the country’s first interactive 3D model of a large archaeological complex.
The bath complex, opened by the Emperor Caracalla, of the Severan dynasty, is an extraordinary relic of the city’s past. In fact, this is the best preserved monumental bath house of Ancient Rome and have maintained its structure almost intact. Therefore, the building is ideally suited for an immersive 3D reconstruction, thanks to a georeferencing and orientation system that continuously reconstructs the image of whatever the viewer is looking at, in the headset, establishing a link between physical and virtual reality and enabling visitors to travel through time, between past and present, through the fourth dimension.
The long virtual 3D reconstruction process has required lot of meticulous historical and scientific work, based on the research work carried out over the past 30 years with thousands of pages of monographic studies and essays, plus hundreds of surveys, photogrammetric analyses and 3D laser scans carried out by the Special Superintendence of Rome, in partnership with many other Italian and international institutions.
Only thanks to all this material has it been possible to produce a three-dimensional model, the closest possible to the original, based on which each element – from the shapes to the colours – has been attentively reconstructed. The transposition into images of the studies on the decorations has been made more lifelike through natural lighting, to ensure a more realistic rendering of the pavements, walls, columns and mosaics.
The statues, fountains and capitals have been treated separately. For centuries, in fact, the Baths of Caracalla were plundered and spoliated to build and adorn churches, palaces and squares. Nevertheless, we do know the present location of many of the statues that once decorated the monument, like the statue of Hercules, the so-called Farnese Bull and the large red porphyry basin, which can be found at the Archaeological Museum of Naples, while a twin statue of Hercules is in the Royal Palace of Caserta.
Yet more statues have been found in the digs carried out over the past forty years and preserved in the Museo Nazionale Romano, while the magnificent figurative capitals, considered among the most refined in Ancient Roman art, are on display in the subterranean area of the bath complex. Many of these art works have been photographed in three dimensions and integrated into the virtual system, while the damaged works have been rebuilt through a sort of digital restoration. The virtual decorations have been put into place based on the writings and documents dating back to the time of the spoliation by Antonio da Sangallo, or by comparison with other architectures of the Severan period.