THE ARA AS IT WAS. A narrative in Augmented Reality

History and technology meet to present the Ara Pacis immersive and multisensory visit

by Cecilia Di Marzo
3 Love 3433 Visits

Few monuments have managed to transmit, as the Ara Pacis does, the beliefs, ideals and ambitions of a ruling class at the height of its power.

Over the centuries the monumental altar has experienced stories and events that you can now relive thanks to the multimedia project THE ARA AS IT WAS, the first systematic redevelopment project in augmented reality of the cultural heritage of Rome.

Using special AR visors (Samsung GearVR) and the devices' camera inserted in them, virtual elements and real elements mix together into the visitors' field of vision leading them on a multisensory and immersive visit of the altar built by Augustus to celebrate the peace he imposed on one of the largest Empires that ever existed.

The route, divided into 9 points of interest (POI), begins with the models of the Northern Campus Martius, and the Ara Pacis which are populated by small characters intent on celebrating a sacrifice. By looking at the models, the peculiarities of the Campus Martius in Roman times can also be discovered and the history of the altar can be relived, while the casts of the imperial family come to life to tell you their stories first-hand.

Moreover, thanks to a "magic cube" that rotates from time to time, the figure of Augustus and an archæologist take turns being your guide, helping you discover the historical and archæological curiosities which make up the history of the famous altar. Its marble characters, deities, plants and animals come to life in 3D and find the colour that enriched the reliefs, according to a restitution hypothesis elaborated in specialised studies.

On the Ara Pacis, as an extraordinary message to posterity, the origins of Rome merge with that of the Augustus family, to represent the fate of a city that becomes an empire and those of a dynasty that dominates it.

The project, promoted by Roma Capitale (Department of Cultural Growth – Capital Superintendency of Cultural Heritage) and organized by Zètema Progetto Cultura, was assigned to ETT SpA following a public tender.

For all the info visit the Ara Pacis Museum website