Destroyed Places and Ancient Wars. Digital Tools for the Montecastrese Fortress

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Giorgio Verdiani
Martina Carrara
Stefano Lami


In the XX century, after being forgotten for centuries, a series of archaeological excavations have brought to light the settlement, named “Montecastrese”, a system of Medieval fortifications organized on the top of a hill near the town of Camaiore, on the Tirreno sea. The archaeologists brought back to light the traces of the fortress and of the village, exploring the monumental ruins of the northern tower, still in place and tumbled down in two main large parts. In the first half of the XIII century, the castle of Montecastrese was conquered and destroyed by the army of Lucca. At the time of its major development the small fortress was organized around two main towers, with walls and various houses. A quite extended village was placed on the southern side of the hill. In 2015 the municipality of Camaiore commissioned a complete digital survey to the Dipartimento di Architettura in Florence. The general survey plan has seen the use of aerial photogrammetric survey, 3D laser scanner survey and terrestrial photogrammetry. The use of 3D modeling of all the lost parts, from the houses to the defense walls, to the system of towers was one of the focal point in this work, using the modeling process from the survey and supporting the reconstruction hypothesis with previous archaeological data, while matching the missing parts with similar architectures and the needs of the medieval defense/attack techniques. For the northern tower a specific operation based on the use of 3D printed models was brought on to bring to an end the debate about the sequence of the fall of the tower, quite important to the digital reconstruction of this building, the direct manipulation of a scaled model turned out to be a fundamental step for the completion of this part of the research.


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How to Cite
Verdiani, G., Carrara, M., & Lami, S. (2017). Destroyed Places and Ancient Wars. Digital Tools for the Montecastrese Fortress. Studies in Digital Heritage, 1(2), 518-536.
Special Issue "Cultural Heritage and New Technologies 2016"
Author Biographies

Giorgio Verdiani, Dipartimento di Architettura, Univeristà degli Studi di Firenze

Giorgio Verdiani, (Carrara, 1968), Researcher at the Dipartimento di Architettura since 2006. Starting from 2000 he had classes at the Università degli studi di Firenze and for other institution. From 2006 he is active in various international conferences about Cultural Heritage and Digital Media. From January 2011 He is director of the Architecture Informatic Lab and from 2013 he is the coordiantor of the DIDALABS system of the Dipartimento di Architettura.


Martina Carrara, Dipartimento di Architettura, Univeristà degli Studi di Firenze


Stefano Lami, Dipartimento di Architettura, Univeristà degli Studi di Firenze