TrendsVR & ARCulture and innovation: VR at La Scala. And the rest of Italy?

Roberta Gavioli6 years ago9 min


Italy’s cultural heritage is enough to leave you breathless. Whether it’s art, music, theater or other aspects of its culture, one thing is certain: there’s no question about the quality. The secret is that, throughout history, Italy has been able to create valuable works, and also communicate that value. But now that innovation is moving faster than ever, does Italy know how to bring art and technology together in a way that pays homage to its priceless artistic and cultural offerings? The answer is looking like yes: La Scala in Milan, one of the main players in Italian opera, is jumping into the world of apps and virtual reality.

La Scala Museum and Theater: apps and virtual reality breathing new life into opera

You can’t talk about the history of Italian opera without mentioning La Scala Theater in Milan. It’s a fascinating place that’s rich in history, but it speaks a language that’s increasingly foreign for young people. Or that’s how it seemed anyway, before they released version 2.0 through the creation of a digital app, a new project developed in collaboration with Samsung. Over 250,000 visitors physically enter La Scala’s museum yearly, but this number is set to increase with virtual visits through the app. Available for Android and iOS in 7 languages, the app has 6 different paths, where you can learning about the theater’s big stars or take a tour especially for children. There’s a description of every work of art, with the title, author, date of completion and room where it’s displayed.

And if an app and 7 multimedia displays weren’t enough, the opera world is also embracing virtual reality. You can visit La Scala Theater with Samsung Gear VR connected to the Galaxy S8 and headphones. It’s a fascinating way to discover the theater, letting you step back in time into 19th century Milan, where Nicoletta Manni, prima ballerina of La Scala, leads you on a 360° tour. These new high tech features are already popular, even among the traditionalists.

La tradizione lirica italiana passa inevitabilmente per il Teatro alla Scala di Milano. Un luogo affascinante e ricco di storia, che però parla un linguaggio sempre più lontano dai giovani, o almeno così poteva sembrare prima che il suo museo diventasse 2.0 con la creazione di un’applicazione digitale.

Is VR the key to innovating Italian culture? 

It seems like Italy has finally realized that while preserving its artistic heritage is important, we also need to think about reimagining and innovating it. Work is clearly being done in this regard, but how far have we come? We’re moving right along with smartphone apps, mobile devices and virtual and augmented reality headsets, to say nothing of progress with 3D printing. We can look at a painting digitally and see its history and hidden secrets. Interacting with art this way creates more intense experiences, which is something that tools like Tooteko demonstrate. This high-tech ring can tell you the history of a monument simply by touching it. A different startup, Arte Amica, has focused on VR with an immersive 360° visit to the city of Salerno using a low-cost wooden headset that goes on your smartphone. Milan is also experimenting with this technology at Ultrareal World, Italy’s first 360° VR cinema screen.

Analysts claim that through such innovations, Italy’s tourism demand could grow by 10%, and result in a boost to the GDP and employment, especially among young people. In fact, many young people are already launching startups for digital projects in the cultural sector. Around 80% of employees at these emerging digital agencies are under 35, and they’re aiming to promote the country’s culture through innovative products and services with high technological value.

Dotfarm: innovative experiences and advanced VR/AR products

Even if Italy is really switched on in terms of tech in the arts, it’s also true that not all museums are keeping up with the times. Websites are a particular weak point because they’re not very mobile friendly. Who’s going to lead the way? Research by the startup Travel Appeal would award prizes to the Capodimonte museum, the Pinacoteca di Brera and the Archaeological Museum of Taranto. Each have outstanding collections, green spaces and historical locations. And here too, new technology could make all the difference.

Here at Dotfarm, we fully believe in this new technological reality. Our digital agency operates in both the Italian and English markets, and our main focus is on developing innovative products and experiences for brands and B2B operators. Through our partnership with London-based company Threesixty, we offer advanced VR/AR products (for desktop and mobile) or we can set them up in a specific location such as warehouses, retail spaces, pop up shops and large-scale brand events

Roberta Gavioli

Giornalista di Innovazione, Travel Blogger, Event Planner. Se è vero che il presente è digitale, il futuro è senza dubbio nelle persone. Amo la carta, ci scrivo, la leggo, la piego in origami, la dipingo e la trasformo in idee. Per me le scelte più importanti della vita si trovano sul fondo di una buona tazza di tè.

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