There's No Place Like Rome

You have to see it to believe it.

A professor at the University of Virginia (Katie's alma mater, btw) has created something truly unique: a computer simululation of Rome, circa 320 A.D.

According to Reuters:

Tourists puzzled by the jumble of buildings in classical and modern Rome can now find their bearings by visiting a virtual model of the imperial capital in what is being billed as the world's biggest computer simulation of an ancient city.

"Rome Reborn" was unveiled on Monday in a first release showing the city at its peak in 320 AD, under the Emperor Constantine when it had grown to a million inhabitants.

Brainchild of the University of Virginia's Bernard Frischer, Rome Reborn will eventually show its evolution from Bronze Age hut settlements to the Sack of Rome in the 5th century AD and the devastating Gothic Wars.

Reproduced for tourists on satellite-guided handsets and 3-D orientation movies in a theatre to be opened near the Colosseum, Frischer says his model "will prepare them for their visit to the Colosseum, the Forum, the imperial palaces on the Palatine, so that they can understand the ruins a lot better."

"We can take people under the Colosseum and show them how the elevators worked to bring the animals up from underground chambers for the animal hunts they held," he said, referring to the great Roman amphitheatre inaugurated by Titus in 80 AD.

There truly is no place like Rome. Especially as it was 1700 years ago.