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VisitAR Bologna, the new App to discover the sites of Guglielmo Marconi and Bologna, the City of Music, is launched

06/07/2024 - 01:20 PM

A new app (for IOS and Android) has been created for a real and virtual journey through the history, culture and tradition of Bologna. It has been designed for tourists, residents and city users who want to discover the city through an innovative multimedia guide with digital smartphone content at their fingertips.

VisitAR Bologna is the name of the Unity mobile app developed as part of the activities of the Casa delle Tecnologie Emergenti (House of Emerging Technologies) of the Municipality of Bologna in collaboration with TIM Enterprise.

The App will be freely downloadable from mobile device stores and was presented today at the Sala della Musica in the Salaborsa Library in Piazza del Nettuno in Bologna, as part of the second edition of the Bologna Portici Festival.


Thanks to TIM Enterprise's XR platform, an innovative itinerary has been created for Bologna, which can be used with a geolocalized tourist app with added Augmented Reality content that guides visitors along two outdoor routes, both of which can be enjoyed while walking through the historic centre: The city of Marconi and Bologna City of Music. The first, dedicated to Guglielmo Marconi on the 150th anniversary of his birth, takes visitors to the places that marked the life of the illustrious Bolognese genius; the other itinerary is a journey in stages through the many places in the city that have made the history of Bolognese music great.


Bologna City of Music is a selection of sites that tell the story of the musical history of Bologna, from the fourteenth century to the present day. Users can find out more about official events and discover more personal anecdotes about the various leading figures of the music scene, some of which feature their original voices. From the Basilica of San Petronio to the Museum of Music, from the Archiginnasio to the Isola Nel Kantiere, in a city that always resonates with all kinds of music, from the classical to the new.

The city of Marconi, on the other hand, explores the relationship between the inventor and the city through a number of themes: his personal life, his scientific career, his relationship with the global world, crossing between his historical period and the present. From Palazzo Marescalchi, where Marconi was born, to the Institute of Physics, from his first honorary degree to the broadcast in Piazza San Martino: a journey through the interwoven history of Marconi and his city.


The App illustrates around 100 points of interest, including museums, palaces, places of culture, music and knowledge, all geolocated and shown on a map. These points of interest are supported by text, audio, video, animation and 3D models in augmented reality, making the experience more engaging and compelling.

For example, while W.A. Mozart and Augusto Righi "emerge" from the stillness of canvases and sculptures to share their own experiences, it is also possible to interact with Marconi's "tools of the trade" and the most important musical work from the 1500s. Galvani is an exceptional guide who, at various points along the route, recounts his relationship with wireless technology and music. Many voices and surprises make up a story on several levels, in which love and a sense of belonging to the city emerge from the various characters who take part in the great collective fresco painted by the two itineraries.


The app also features two itineraries outside the city walls, with the Music outside the city and Marconi outside the city routes, which go beyond the walking itinerary of the city centre, offering a further selection of places across the city and the metropolitan area, to get a wider view of the cultural richness and the resources to experience it. The itineraries continue, for example, to Villa Griffone, home of the Marconi Museum in Pontecchio Marconi (BO) for the Marconi route and to the Ocarina Museum in Budrio and to the Rocchetta Mattei in Grizzana Morandi for the musical itinerary.


The itineraries in the historic centre also introduce an element of gamification: visitors who complete all the stages of the routes can then access the app's content at any time and in any place without the need to be at the point of interest.


VisitAR Bologna has been designed with accessibility for people with visual and hearing impairments in mind. The colour choices comply with the WCAG AAA standard and it features text formatting settings for audio content. The App interacts with the software already in the smartphone's operating system, using the most appropriate functions for the best use.


The audio, video and text content of VisitAR Bologna is available in Italian and English. The language is automatically set according to the smartphone's operating system. With Italian set as the default language, English is adopted as the reference for all other system languages.


VisitAR Bologna is the latest innovation developed as part of the CTE COBO project, the wide-ranging technology transfer centre for emerging technologies related to 5G.

Led by the Municipality of Bologna and co-financed with FSC 2014-20 funds from MiMiT, CTE COBO is part of the activities of Bologna Innovation Square (BIS), the collaborative platform of the Joint Office of "Economic Development, Enterprises, Employment of the Metropolitan City and the Municipality of Bologna" for the innovation of the metropolitan economic system, an integral part of Città della Conoscenza, the strategy that supports the regeneration of the city based on innovative solution knowledge and experimentation in response to social, environmental and economic challenges.


On behalf of the Municipality of Bologna, the Digital Innovation and Data Sector, the Bologna Civic Museums Sector and the Culture and Creativity Sector took part in the project as part of the activities of Bologna UNESCO Creative City of Music and the initiatives dedicated to Guglielmo Marconi on the 150th anniversary of his birth.


As part of the CTE project, COBO TIM Enterprise is a technology partner that offers its expertise for the implementation of complex IOT and 5G projects through a technological infrastructure that supports content processing thanks to 5G and edge computing. For Bologna, this infrastructure is the key to a unique tourism and cultural experience.

TIM Enterprise is particularly active in the use of solutions with high development potential for the country, including the promotion of artistic and cultural heritage. The aim is to increase visitor engagement, improve their experience and improve the cultural offer. The use of content through new apps also meets the needs of younger generations and allows cultural institutions to be more attractive to this audience.


The content was created by Riccardo Negrelli, co-curator of the Sala della Musica in Bologna, for the itinerary dedicated to music, and by Bianca Buccilli and Francesco Pipi, University of Bologna, in collaboration with the Guglielmo Marconi Foundation, for the itinerary dedicated to Guglielmo Marconi.




Casa delle Tecnologie Emergenti - CTE COBO ( is the comprehensive technology transfer centre managed by the Municipality of Bologna with a total budget of almost 20 million euros, partly financed by FSC 2014-2020 funds from MiMiT and included in the actions and activities of the Bologna Innovation Square (BIS). CTE COBO supports research and development projects, supports the growth of start-ups and SMEs, and promotes technology transfer thanks to new emerging technologies such as Blockchain, Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence and quantum technologies enabled by the use of 5G. In just over a year of operation, CTE COBO has already financed over 60 start-ups and SMEs, disbursing almost 3 million euros and providing companies with a wide and varied portfolio of tools and skills, including: Public 5G network outdoors at CTE sites and indoors at 7 sites - AR/VR headsets - Micro-nano manufacturing platform, polymer and metal powder 3D printers - Edge/Cloud computing infrastructure - Quantum key Distribution - IoT platform for smart cities - High Performance Computing.

The following are partners of CTE COBO: Metropolitan City of Bologna, Municipality of Ravenna, Alma Mater Studiorum - University of Bologna, Almacube, ART-ER, Port System Authority of the Central and Northern Adriatic Sea, BI-REX Big data & research excellence, Cineca, CNIT - WiLab, Creative Hub Bologna, G-Factor, Gellify, Search On Media Group, START 4.0 - Competence Centre for Security and Optimization of Strategic Infrastructures, TIM.



Bologna, 7 June 2024


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