As at the times of dynamite, the thing is not wrong in itself, but we use it the wrong way. And in our over-technologized present, where smartphones have taken control of our lives, where we do not spend more than five minutes without checking it to see whether someone has sent us something, where in the waiting room we prefer to play on a cell phone instead of talking, and we spend entire afternoons chasing virtual creatures in the streets, there is room also for good technology, which does not make us stupid, but acculturates us. It becomes even an economic driver.
Apps, mobile devices, 3D printing, and augmented reality can be crucial to this area at present; giving voice directly to the protagonists: the monuments. The screenings of the analysts tell us that, Italy sees its tourism demand grow by about 10% thanks to digital content; with a positive knock-on effect on GDP and employment, estimated at around 1%.
A path that recently has had an exceptional ambassador; we are talking about the project with which Google Cultural Institute “virtualized” the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, allowing millions of users to experience it in augmented reality before coming to actually see it. A promotional event that put a spotlight on the importance of valorizing the Italian artistic heritage.
But be careful, because the boomerang effect is round the corner. If Italy does not invest more in the restoration and preservation of its treasures, this growth of audience can become harmful. If, for example, the reconstruction is too cinematic, tourists may be disappointed by the special effects and not appreciate the artworks.
A partial risk, since Italy’s historical and artistic treasures do not need major “touch-ups”; it would be worse if they came to Italy to admire them and found it impossible to do so because of a strike, lack of personnel, lack of funds or any other “excuse” that over the years has undermined the touristic potential of the Beautiful Country.
One last bitter reflection. It is quite sad that an American giant needs to take an interest – even if in terms of virtual reality – in Italy’s heritage before Italy itself.