The Fortress of Riolo Terme, near Ravenna: digital survey and 3D printing for cultural dissemination

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Elisa Sgherri
Giovanni Anzani


In this work, initially developed as a thesis project, it has been studied the management of the different information methods, derived from the 3D laser scanner survey, of the Fortress of Riolo Terme, near Ravenna, Italy. After studying the building and its history this type of survey has been chosen because of its fast acquisition of three-dimensional data, with the advantage of a level of details and a resolution impossible to be reached by other methods. The geometrical survey of the whole fortress and its surroundings has been enriched by the gathering of color information: taking a specific set of photos for every station, each single scan has been associated to a panoramic image, obtaining a point clouds provided with the corresponding color values.

Given the complexity and articulation of the building part of the project was dedicated to the work program, in terms of the decimation of the data, balancing a fluid management of the vast amount of collected data, and the conservation of the appropriate resolution of the information. This brought to the creation of an automatism both for the alignment of the scans, and for the following graphic post-processing. In addition to the production of drawings as plans, elevations and sections, whose outlining has been automated by creating several procedures for Autodesk AutoCAD, a specific part of the project was aimed at the construction of an optimized model of a portion of the building, to be printed out using 3D technology.

The project allowed investigating thoroughly an architectural complex that is an outcome of stratifications over time, from the XIV century until the contemporary age. The chosen approach and the type of products elaborated are part of a renovation project for the enjoyment and historical knowledge of the building, which was the primary aim of this work.


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Sgherri, E., & Anzani, G. (2017). The Fortress of Riolo Terme, near Ravenna: digital survey and 3D printing for cultural dissemination. Studies in Digital Heritage, 1(2), 750–768.
Special Issue "Cultural Heritage and New Technologies 2016"


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