“Uncle Technology” joins the Assisi family of St Francis

November 19, 2012

A visitor uses a touch screen to view a digital detail of a fresco by Giotto in the basilica of St Francis in Assisi October 6, 2012. REUTERS/Handout

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.

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