Applied culture

Visit the past with new apps about Florence

Helen Farrell
September 11, 2014

Two new apps take users on a tour of bygone Florence.


The Hidden Florence app, the creation of two historians, brings the past to life via a detailed period map and a hunt for statues, tabernacles and piazzas, guided by Giovanni the wool worker (voiced by actors in English and Italian). You visit 1490s Florence, touring 17 sites, from Giovanni’s parish church, where he reveres a miraculous chalice said to be filled with Christ’s blood, to a downtown alleyway, where he describes a recent tavern brawl. For more information, visit


Alternatively, explore nineteenth-century Florence with Susan Horner’s diary. Horner was a British writer on Italian subjects who spent eight months in Florence in 1861 and 1862 when the city was the capital of a newly united Italy. During that time, she kept a diary, illustrated with drawings and photographs, in which she describes her experiences, impressions and acquaintances. Horner’s diary is now in the archive of the British Institute, which partnered with the University of Bologna to create an app, called Susan Horner’s Florence. Horner’s recollections guide the user through Florence, describing the places that were meaningful to her. Download the free application from Google Play (Android) or the App Store (Apple).

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