There are some places where a car just won't work. Google's solution: a camera-equipped trike has been making its way around Europe.
As of this morning you have a new option for staycationing. Google has been busy pedaling its camera-equipped trike into the tight spaces all over Europe where a car would not be able to fit. The result: A host of palaces, castles and monuments from both Italy and France have been added to the search engine's Street View feature. "Starting today, you can view some of the most historic and architecturally significant landmarks in Italy and France, including UNESCO sites in Rome, the center of Florence and stunning chateaux in the French countryside," Google announced this morning on its offical blog.
Maybe you've long yearned to tour the Baths of Diocletian, a project commissioned by Maximian more than 1,700 years ago and preserved because many of the rooms have since been converted into space for churches and a museum. Or you've dreamed of visiting the Château d'Fontainebleau since hearing Madonna reference the largest palace in France on her 1992 album, Erotica. It would take you nearly 13 hours by car to get from one site to the other, but you can visit both -- virtually -- in a matter of minutes.
Of course, photographs of these famous landmarks have existed on the Internet for decades, but you haven't been able -- until now -- to get a sense of what it's like to explore the surrounding areas and place the buildings into a larger spatial context. "In addition to seeing the exterior of archeological sites like the Imperial Forum and the Colosseum in Rome, you can now explore inside the Colosseum and imagine yourself viewing naumachiae -- simulated sea battles for which the Colosseum was filled with water -- or speaking with statesmen inside the Imperial Forum," according to the Google blog.
In addition to the Colosseum and the other historic landmarks already mentioned, Google has added Brunelleschi's Cupola in the Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence; Ponte Vecchio, the bridge that traverses Florence's Arno River; the Appian Way, or "Queen of the long roads," one of the earliest Roman paths used extensively by the army; Palatine Hill, the birthplace of Romulus and Remus according to Roman mythology; and many other sites.