Suzanne Lovell Inc


Ancient Rome + 20th-Century Technology

February 18, 2018

Technology wonderfully “restored” the fountains, columns and sculptures at the Baths of Caracalla. Using a 3-D visor headset, the site’s ancient glory is restored. This is the first time the technology has been used at an Italian archaeological monument. Image courtesy of: Arts, Culture, and Style- Italy



A visit to Rome should including seeing the Colosseum, the Spanish Steps and the Forum, among other important monuments. Not often though, do you hear tourists raving about the Baths of Caracalla. This 100,000-square meter complex resides just off the beaten path and is rarely visited.

At this site, there’s so much to understand and explore… all of which was previously quite a cumbersome explanation. Dr. Marina Piranomonte, the monument’s curator, wants to change that and she’s off to a great start with the help of 20th-century technology.

Part of the complex of tunnels underneath the Baths of Caracalla. Image courtesy of: Detail, photographed by: Oliver Ferrari.




Debuting in late 2017, the headset visors recreate the feeling of what things looked like when upward of 6,000 guests entered the baths. You can choose a room and see what the painted walls looked like, experience the beauty of the intricate mosaic floors, and the huge statues that were destroyed.

What we love most is that the headsets move as you move, so that you can get a 360-degree view of the rooms just as they originally were.

The headset visors, when viewing the Ara Pacis, fill in the missing color and friezes digitally. It’s as close to “being there” as possible! Image courtesy of: CN Traveler

The Ara Pacis, the cube-like sculpted altar was built to commemorate Emperor Augustus’ military victories. Reconstructed virtually allows visitors to get a feeling for what the site originally looked like. Although right in the middle of Rome today, this site was originally in the Italian countryside.

Available until December 31, 2019… now you have even more incentive to travel to Rome! Image courtesy of Wanted in Rome

This complex was originally opened in 216 CE by Emperor Caracalla. Except for the vast plundering of statues , the baths themselves are one of Ancient Rome’s best preserved. Georeferencing and an orientation system that constantly reconstructs the image depending on what the viewer is looking at allows the headset visor to establish a link between physical and virtual reality. It’s like “time traveling”!

This ambitious project took almost 30 years,and it was completed thanks to Dr. Marina Piranomonte. 1,000’s of pages of studies and essays; surveys, photogrammetric analyses and 3-D laser scans allowed this project to commence.

Image courtesy of: Wanted in Rome

Many of the site’s original monuments were plundered throughout the years, and taken for use in other temples and squares. Thankfully, there was enough information to know which ones were where… and now, with the help of high-tech, they are “reinstated” to their original location.

All based on historical data, there’s no fear here that technology isn’t being targeted for it’s proper use. We love that high-tech is bringing monuments up to “speed.” Viva Roma!