Italy’s Invisible Cities

As a child it had always been my dream to visit “Bel Plaese” a nickname given to the “beautiful country” Italy, a name I couldn’t agree with more. I’ve now had the pleasure of visiting this stunning country twice, the first time for my 18th birthday and the second for my 21st. The first time we only had a taste of Italy exploring Florence, Rome and Pisa in only three days which for me was a dream come true.

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River del Garda, Italy

Last year I was able to venture the delights of Lago di Garda (Lake Garda), Verona and would you believe it, the lagoon city itself – Venice! I couldn’t believe my eyes as the city I’ve only seen glimpses of in photos and films slowly emerged in front me. What a sight! After riding on a gondola through the watery streets, my life was well and truly complete.

Just this week I was told of a programme on BBC One, titled “Italy’s Invisible Cites” which takes you on a “journey through three of the world’s most incredible urban cities” exploring Naples, Venice and Florence like never before. Presenters Alexander Armstrong and Dr Micheal Scott reveal the hidden spaces that helped these great cities change the world, bringing a fresh and fascinating take on 2000 years worth of history in just an hour.

3D scan of St Mark’s Square, Venice

These programmes would not have been possible if it wasn’t for the developments of technology throughout the years, as the latest 3D scanning equipment has been used to create a enormous “x-ray” scans of the cities, in doing so, revealing secret Jewish synagogues hidden within a deceptive outer appearance. If you were to visit Venice for any length of time, whether it be a couple of hours or several weeks you still wouldn’t be able to see the detail highlighted in these 3D images, and definitely not all at once.

The Foundation of Venice – The Science of Saving Venice

The 3D scans also highlighted the foundations of Venice, which is unbelievably built on nothing other than vertical wooden stakes driven into the ground, used to solidify the original marshy foundations. Not the best place to create a city, but has survived many year since… But how long will it last?

I could go on an on about the number of solutions that have been proposed for Venice’s rescue, but what I’m really trying to say is – you must go and visit those places you dream of while you still can otherwise you won’t know what you’re missing.

It really makes you wonder what else there is out there that we are unaware of as human’s or in fact what used to be there that we’ll never be able to see. You begin to realise that more you look, the less we actually know about the world, as there’s always something else… So go on, get out there, explore as much as you can and make those memories that will stay with you for lifetime.

If you are interested in Italy’s Invisible Cities, the next episode will be showing at 9pm on BBC One, 25th January 2017.

Bibliography:

http://scanlabprojects.co.uk/projects/bbc-italy

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b088nl33

http://venice.umwblogs.org/exhibit/the-conservation-of-venetian-building-materials/wood/

http://www.ancient-origins.net/ancient-places-europe/construction-venice-floating-city-001750

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