Introduction to the Project

Virtual Destination Italy (VDI) is a research and development project whose object is the design and implementation of an innovative ICT platform for the use of tangible and intangible tourism, cultural and landscape heritage. VDI will be based on an innovative and immersive storytelling model; avatars of famous historical people (Goethe) will accompany the visitor along themed itineraries to discover the masterpieces, the places of cultural significance and the hidden gems of the Bel Paese. VDI will match the traditional usage (such as text contents, audio guides and image galleries) to new interaction tools, through the publication of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality content, 3D reconstructions, immersive videos, and serious games. Finally, VDI will be equipped with a back-end platform that all participating entities will be able to manage independently.

It is supposed that VDI will expand over time, both by generating separate and distinct apps, dedicated to individual regions/museums/narrative cycles, and by unifying content in a single platform.


+ Modularity: freely combinable routes/points of interest through minimum module sets

+ Scalability: freely expandable and transferable content


  • Culture
  • Tourism
  • Training
  • Education

Storytelling background


Starting from the seventeenth century, the education of intellectuals, artists, aristocrats and Statesmen shall pass through a long exploratory journey to continental Europe. Its objective is the complete immersion of the spirit into the classical culture. This long journey is called The Grand Tour. Virtual Destination Italy studies the iconic stages of the Grand Tour and the memories of the great characters of European history and literature who undertook it, re-emerging with a contemporary narrative proposal to retrace, today, that timeless cultural journey.


Thanks to Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, 3D reconstructions and geolocation, new narrative levels overlap with reality, allowing the user to experience the places of cultural significance on the territory. Holding our hands and accompanying us along a path, the virtual reconstructions (avatars) of iconic characters such as Leonardo Da Vinci, Dante and Goethe will be showing us such places through their eyes.


Thanks to the Virtual Destination Italy app you can relive the magic of the Grand Tour and its stages guided by the stories of characters, scholars, artists who have traveled and visited the country. Select the stage that most interests you and discover the stories held in it, get to know the character-avatar who will be your guide and discover many curiosities through the multimedia narration of the different attractions. Use the maps and the special “take me here” feature to move among different places in search of all routes and stages that interest you the most by choosing the order in which to explore them.


Production Targets


Realization of a long-term and scalable technological platform, which offers the tourist the opportunity to embark on a journey through the Italian territory, to discover the tangible and intangible cultural heritage.


Creation of Virtual Reality contents to be experienced indoor through a Head Mounted Display, including virtual 3D reconstructions of objects and characters of the Grand Tour: creation of the avatar character; design and development of interactive games that release contextual digital contents once allowed the reaching of a physical location.


Realization of a platform (Wearable and Immersive Technologies) that goes beyond the “Cool Vendors” state of the art.

The Products


1 — Creation of a (front-end) mobile platform for the outdoor use of routes and contents in Augmented Reality.
2 — Creation of a (back-end) cloud platform for the implementation and management of content (Knowledge Management System, Author System, Content Management System). The content management platform is accessible via the web and leverages cloud computing power to deliver preliminary digital content.


1 — Georeferenced routes structured to be used through a mobile interface and based on “stories” (itineraries) and “chapters” (stages) concepts, narrated by a character who narrates the places and all tangible and intangible heritage connected to it in first person.
2 — Creation of Virtual Reality contents to be experienced indoor through a Head Mounted Display, including virtual 3D reconstructions of objects and characters from the seventeenth century.
3 — Creation of Avatar characters in virtual and augmented reality, through which to interact through artificial Intelligence tools (work in progress).
4 — Design and development of interactive games that release contextual digital contents once a physical location is reached (work in progress).


1 — Possibility to interact with avatar characters.
2 — Possibility to pass through the virtual narrated places.
3 — Possibility to access virtual contents through mobile App and/or through devices provided at participating locations.
4 — Possibility to use contents contextual to one’s geolocation.