Digital Investigations Above Florence’s Baptistery of San Giovanni

The roof of the Baptistery from the roof of the Duomo Cathedral.

The roof of the Baptistery from the roof of the Duomo Cathedral.

Vid Petrovic prepping for imaging the Baptistery roof from the front face of the Duomo Cathedral in Florence

Vid Petrovic prepping for imaging the Baptistery roof from the front face of the Duomo Cathedral in Florence

Please note: There were just so many good pics to choose from of our work at the Baptistery, so I divided the blog into four blogs. Each one will have more or less a similar primary chunk of text (in case anyone is playing with these out of context), with spatially themed pics dealing with the Outside, Inside, Below, and Above of the marvelous and wonderful Baptistery.

The primary CISA3  field site in 2013 was the Baptistery of St. Giovanni, one of Florence’s most famous, venerated, and mysterious monuments. For our research goals see this.  

 Invited by the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo (OPA)to join their interdisciplinary team of researchers working to establish a chronology of construction for the Florence Baptistery of St. Giovanni (John). The evolution of the site from its Roman origins upwards is rather mysterious. Significant research has been done by dedicated scholars, but they’ve no way to correlate that information altogether to start making sense of it. Enter CISA3 with our concept of layered realities of data draped on a digital scaffold.

Thus we imaged (via terrestrial laser scanning, thermography, high resolution photogrammetry (including structure from motion), stereoscopic imaging, and multispectral imaging the interior of the building and the exterior of the building – emphasizing spaces that the public has no access to (i.e. the upper passages – there are three floors up there that no one ever sees or even realizes as really only one level of balcony is visible from the ground), and the subterranean Roman archaeological site underneath the altar/scarsella – as well as the main chamber of the active house of worship which  the public can access (for 10 euro).

The Baptistery from the roof of the Duomo Cathedral, Florence

The Baptistery from the roof of the Duomo Cathedral, Florence

Finally the new bit:

Above the Baptistery of St. Giovanni

 With little to no warning (because that’s how access to these sites rolls in Italy), we were given permission to image the roof of the Baptistery from the front face of the Duomo. Pretty cool, huh? We even got to cheat and rather than climb up with all of the equipment, took the construction elevator for the on-going work at the back of the Duomo and walked along the top mini-balconets that encircle it to get round to the front face. This area seems to be currently off-limits to tourists, but there were enough roped off bits, that it does seem to allow for some kind of public traffic everyonce awhile. However, much to the consternation of the tourists who could see us from the neighboring Campanile tower, the roof of the Duomo was off-limits to everyone but us that day.

Again with a person-size restriction, and with a very marrow time-frame (both in terms of the predicted rainstorm about to arrive and the access allotment of people-time–remember, a security person or official project architect wanders round with us the whole time for the site’s safety (and they are always super nice and lovely)). So DV, Vid Petrovic, and myself were sent to spend a lovely morning on the Duomo’s front face, scanning and photographing the neighboring Baptistery roof from our perch.

Vid Petrovic prepping the stereoscopic imaging system (the CaveCam)

Vid Petrovic prepping the stereoscopic imaging system (the CaveCam)

The Faro Focus 3D Scanner and the roof of the Baptistery.

The Faro Focus 3D Scanner and the roof of the Baptistery.

DV, Ashley M. Richter, Vid Petrovic, and our fabulous OPA supervisor after imaging the Baptistery roof from the Duomo.

DV, Ashley M. Richter, Vid Petrovic, and our fabulous OPA supervisor after imaging the Baptistery roof from the Duomo.

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