For tourists who struggle to make sense of the ruins around the Roman Forum, a new high-tech show provides a 3D sense of what life was like for plebeians and gladiators in ancient Rome.
Blending Hollywood animation and video-game technology with Cinecitta studio technicians' versions of ancient frescoes and brickwork, plus academic research, "3D Rewind Rome" sucks the visitor back in time to 310 AD, the reign of Emperor Maxentius.
In a refurbished theatre just off the Colosseum, the visitor centre opening to the public on November 20 tries to breathe life into the tourists' experience of Rome's ancient artefacts, which for all their majesty are sorely lacking in orientation.
"Now all of Rome is at your feet," says Sapientus, the tubby, balding, toga-clad 3D guide to a detailed virtual model of the city, developed by University of Virginia archaeologists.
You get a peeping-tom's view of the Vestal Virgins, watch a rowdy Senate debate and see the plebeian district Suburra. There is even a financial crisis that may ring a bell with modern viewers.
"Oh no! My life savings! I could have earned more by keeping my money under the mattress!" moans Sapientus.But the effects are most dramatic in gladiatorial scenes in the Colosseum. A preview audience kitted out with 3-dimensional glasses leapt back when evil gladiator Bestia shoved his sword at them. - More
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