Virtual Time Travel in Palermo: Prof. Khaled Elsaadany's Monitoring Visit to Explore iHERITAGE's Cutting-Edge Technology Products

Dr. Alessandro Russell, Assistant to the Project Scientific Coordinator

On March 1st, 2023, senior expert Prof. Khaled El Sadaany from the Joint Technical Secretariat of the ENI CBC MED Managing Authority visited the University of Palermo (UNIPA), partner of the iHERITAGE project in Italy, as part of his monitoring visit.

Prof. El Sadaany was greeted by the Dean of the Department of Architecture, Prof. Francesco Lo Piccolo, who highlighted the efforts the UNIPA members of staff are exerting to foster cultural heritage teaching and research, including a degree course in collaboration with Southern Mediterranean partner institutions due to start soon.

During the meeting, a team consisting of Project Scientific Coordinator Professors Rossella Corrao, Vincenza Garofalo, Rino Vinci, Francesco Di Paola, and Mauro Lo Brutto, as well as research fellows Dr.s Ferla, Carlo Galatolo, Adriana Lo Curto, Kevin Aaron Castro, Marcello La Guardia, and Manuela Aricò, presented the cutting-edge virtual, augmented, and mixed reality outputs developed under the iHERITAGE project, along with the unique methods, technologies, and devices used to showcase the diverse artefacts, monuments, and areas comprising the UNESCO World Heritage-listed serial site of Arab-Norman Palermo and the cathedral churches of Monreale and Cefalù.

Thanks to an array of customized viewers, holograms, virtual architectural and landscape reconstructions developed by the iHERITAGE team in Palermo, Prof. El Sadaany was able to virtually travel back in time to 11th-12th century CE (5th-6th century EG) Sicily, to fly over and marvel at the digital renderings of a number of artifacts, civic and religious architectural complexes. 

Some of the historical sites and artifacts that were showcased include the Palatine Chapel, the churches of St John of the Hermits, St John of the Lepers, and of the Admiral, Zisa and Cuba mansions, the Admiral's Bridge and Maredolce Castle, Constance of Aragon's crown, a kufic inscription from Palermo's Cathedral, and the ivory casket held at the Palatine Chapel's Treasure.

iHERITAGE is keen on delivering impressive outputs that bring the past to life through the use of modern technology. The project provides an immersive experience that allows people to explore historical sites and artifacts in a way that was previously impossible. The team strongly believes that the use of virtual and augmented reality technology has the potential to revolutionize the way we experience cultural heritage, making it universally and safely accessible to a wider audience, including to people with disabilities, and preserving it for future generations. The iHERITAGE project is a great example of how technology can be used to promote and preserve cultural heritage.