"Uncle technology" joins Assisi family of St Francis

Mon Nov 19, 2012 9:08am EST
 
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By Philip Pullella

ASSISI, Italy (Reuters) - St Francis of Assisi, who called the sun "brother" and the moon "sister," might have referred to it as "uncle technology".

Visitors to the monumental basilica-convent complex where St Francis is buried in the Umbrian hill town of Assisi will now be able to enjoy a touch-screen and 3-D experience to help them better appreciate the art, history and spirituality inside.

A new visitor's center just across the street allows art aficionados to view and enlarge any detail of the frescoes on touch screens, which simultaneously project the image on a wall screen.

"This should enhance the spiritual and artistic experience for the visitor," said Father Enzo Fortunato, the spokesman for the convent and one of the creators of the project.

Indeed, because of the crowds, particularly in summer, a visitor to the basilica really can't get much quality time with Giotto's 13th century frescoes depicting the life of St. Francis and the saint's message of peace and love of nature.

"The message is still the gospel and Francis himself. This is just the medium," Fortunato said at the weekend inauguration of the center.

The darkened rooms offer an educational appetizer ahead of an artistic and spiritual experience that many people - Christian or not - find awe-inspiring.

You no longer have to bring your binoculars if you want to get a close up, life-size view of St Francis' face or any other detail on one of Giotto's famed frescoes on the walls of the upper basilica.   Continued...