Monday, June 8, 2009

Virtual Reality Tours-The Vatican

This is a great story. As reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer, a small crew of Villanova students and professors have been given permission to produce virtual reality tours of the holiest spots in the Vatican. They have been given special access to the Sistine Chapel, after it is closed to the public, so that they can film it. Bryan Crable, chair of Villanova's Communication Department said, "It was perfectly silent, it really was sort of outside of time." It was also mentioned that, "Students and their professors also filmed in several other basilicas including St. Peter's, St. John Lateran and St. Mary Major." Tours will be posted in the coming months. The Vatican will hold the copyrights for the virtual tours. 
I clicked on the site below and was taken to a virtual tour of St. Paul, Outside-the-Walls. I was in that basilica in the Jubilee Year 2000 when I went on a diocesan pilgrimage to Rome, Assisi and Florence. Bishop Thomas Daily (now retired) led that pilgrimage. It was an amazing experience for me. When I returned I wrote an article about it, which was published in The Tablet, Brooklyn's diocesan newspaper.  I was able to experience the beauty and magnificence of that basilica once again through the virtual tour, right from my home computer. I look forward to watching the other virtual tours as they become available. I'm always suggesting to Catholics that they should see Rome (at least once in their lifetime) to be inspired......virtual tours might be a way to experience parts of Rome, in an effortless way. Or if you plan to go to Rome, watching a virtual tour can help prepare you. What a great idea and what a great collaboration effort! 
Click on the site below for a virtual tour of St. Paul's.......