Google Earth Lets You Tour Ancient Rome

The glory that was Rome is to rise again.

Visitors will once more be able to visit the Colosseum and the Forum of Rome as they were in A.D. 320, this time on a computer screen in 3D.

The rendering of the ancient city in Google Earth lets viewers stand in the center of the Colosseum, trace the footsteps of the gladiators in the Ludus Magnus and fly under the Arch of Constantine.

The computer model, a collection of more than 6,700 buildings, depicts Rome in the year A.D. 320. Then, under the emperor Constantine I, the city boasted more than a million inhabitants, making it the largest metropolis in the world. It was not until Victorian London that another city surpassed it.

The project has been developed by Google in collaboration with the Rome Reborn Project and Past Perfect Productions.

The computer graphics are based on a physical model -- the Plastico di Roma Antica, which was created by archaeologists and model-makers between 1933 and 1974 and is housed in the Museum of Roman Civilization in Rome. There are only 300 original ruins still standing today.

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