Florence: Satellite Navigation to manage tourist flows better

The Economic Activities and Tourism Department

The Historic Centre of Florence, in Italy, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1982. The city attracts millions of tourists from all over the world. In 2018, 10.6 million tourists visited Florence.

The Economic Activities and Tourism Department of the Municipality is responsible for promoting and managing tourism in Florence. Their main challenge is to sustain the city cultural offer, while mitigating the side effects of tourist pressure on the historic centre.

The challenge

Most tourists in Florence are concentrated in the Historic City Centre, an area of approximately five km². To mitigate overcrowding, the Department decided to adopt dedicated measures to guide tourists towards alternative thematic itineraries.

The satellite solution

Among the measures implemented, the Department launched Firenze Game, a mobile app combining digital gaming and city tours. Targeting schools and kids up to 12 years old, the app aims at stimulating players to learn more about the city while supporting the need of the Municipality to delocalise tourists from major attractions.

Firenze Game relies on Satellite Navigation to guide the young players (and their families) among different itineraries, challenging them to look closely at Florence’s hidden beauties and less known stories. Players can create their avatars and get a set of cards, classified by historical periods. Cards are automatically unlocked through geo-located check-ins. While moving around, the players can gain new cards by localising themselves close to squares, monuments and museums. The more unknown or remote a location is, the more the value of the cards to be collected increases.

The location data are acquired through the mobile device and then combined with city maps retrieved from Open Street Map. The free app was developed in Italian and English by the Municipality of Florence with Linea Comune, Muse and Digital Fun/TuoMuseo, an international collective of artists, game and sound designers, developers, and 3D animators.

The results

The geo-localisation of the player translates the digital and gaming experience into a physical one. The app has been developed so as to allow the Tourist Department to autonomously update and add maps. These can be redrawn from scratch with geo-referenced information.

A cross between PokemonGo and a sticker album, Firenze Game merges the digital and analogical worlds to offer dedicated tourist and educational experiences to youngsters. At the same time, the app represents an innovative way to manage tourist flows in a smart and engaging fashion.