Scanning Volterra

Scanning Volterra is a collaborative project led by Autodesk and Case Technologies, in partnership with the Volterra-Detroit Foundation. The project consists of on-site workshops and field operations in the ancient city of Volterra, located in the Tuscany region of Italy, the inaugural workshop took place in 2016, and future workshops will be conducted annually with workshop participants from around the world.

The goal of the project was initially conceived to bring professionals from different domain expertise in architecture, engineering, surveying, and archeology to digitally preserve the history of the city of Volterra by documenting sites using sensor technology including photogrammetry and laser scanning. The initiative has since expanded to include research, technology evaluation, academic partnerships, and institutional collaborations. The project aims to capture and digitally preserve the city at 3 different scales, leveraging different technologies at each scale:

Interact directly with the 3D models created of the city on the “3D Models” tab of the web page. If you’re interested in getting involved directly, find out more about how to attend the next workshop in Volterra in the “Workshop” tab.

Volterra was chosen for its rich history, well-preserved sites and artifacts, and eclectic mix of various architectural styles, spanning from Etruscan to Medieval. These variations created an exceptional testbed to examine how advanced sensor technologies including photogrammetry and laser scanning could be applied to digitally document architectural and archaeological sites, buildings, and artifacts throughout the city.

In partnership with technology sponsors 3DR and Faro, the team captured laser scans and photographs that were processed using Autodesk’s ReCap product portfolio to develop 3D laser scans and models. In the windows below, use your mouse (desktop) or your fingers (mobile) to interact directly with the 3D models created. The field operations focused on four main sites in Volterra.

Etruscan Arch (Porto Al’ Arco) - This is the main pedestrian access to into the walled city, and represents the oldest and most important landmark in Volterra. This is the oldest standing Etruscan arch in the world. The romans learned this technique from the Etruscans and later mastered it and took over its proliferation, similar to how the Romans absorbed Etruscan culture as they expanded their empire.

Roman Theater (Teatro Romano) - The theater was commissioned in the 1st century BC by a wealthy area family, and excavated in the 1950s. Originally the theater housed 3500 spectators, and now sits fairly well preserved just outside the medieval wall of the city.

For more information on access to full resolution 3D models for academic purposes, contact our team using the information in the “About” tab of the web page.

The inaugural workshop in Volterra brought together a team of professionals with domain expertise in architecture, engineering, surveying, archeology, remote sensing, and archeology. The workshop involves technology instruction, field operations, technology evaluation, and more. The workshop was recognized by the American Institute of Architects with the prestigious AIA (American Institute of Architects) Innovation Award for its ambitious, collaborative approach that leveraged technology applied to multiple domains.

We are currently accepting applications for the 2018 workshop to be held in Volterra, Italy from April 15-29. Participants will have the change to collaborate with professionals from all over the world in a collaborative setting, and will have access to free Autodesk technology to explore how to leverage technologies including photogrammetry, laser scanning, drones, virtual reality, 3D printing, and more.

Find out more information on how to apply at the Volterra-Detroit Foundation website.

The team was honored to receive media coverage in numerous outlets across six countries. Browse links to some of the featured coverage in the links below:

For press inquiries, please contact Autodesk’s project lead, Tristan Randall, at

This project was a collaborative effort that would not have been possible without the contributions of each of the participants.

Project led by:

Tristan Randall, Strategic Projects Executive (

Mark Dietrick, Director of Services (

In partnership with:

Wladek Fuchs, President (

Technology sponsors:

Workshop participants:

Silviu Stoian, The Beck Group

Marc Dubrule, CanFly Drones

Rob Sinclair, Rick Celender and Matt Bainbridge; Civil and Environmental Consultants

Paul Aubin, Paul F Aubin Consulting Services

For press inquiries or questions on academic use, please contact Autodesk’s project lead, Tristan Randall (