x+s+r // Florence

xsr florence hdr

Its official…I’m a Florence Freak. I love this city, and have since I saw it first – now almost fifty years gone. One of my favorite hotels is located just steps from the Ponte Vecchio, a little hole in the wall called the Hotel Hermitage. I’ve walked my way through the old quarter so many times over the years the area often feels like a part of my soul…

…so when I saw a gobsmackingly-glorious new city file for Florence pop up at the Org Store late last night I was all over it…like white on rice. But first, consider that this little file is payware, and that it represents another first, of sorts.

So? Wanna go take a peek?

Well, let’s do it!


Florence hdr

In the waning years of the late-Middle Ages Rome and Florence were locked in mortal combat – for influence. The Papacy, as well as the Vatican, had relocated to Avignon, France in the 1200s, yet since the restoration of the Vatican to Rome her control over the fractious Italian city-states had grown somewhat tenuous (yes, the nation state we call Italy was a 19th Century creation, rather like Germany). To simplify matters, Rome was the center of the Catholic world, while Florence, under the guiding hand of the Medici, would nurture the various intellectual impulses that would in short order become the Renaissance. And oddly enough, the proverbial epicenter of this seismic shift would occur as a result of the building you see immediately below (and for more on this story, I’ll point you to a remarkably accessible little book titled Brunelleschi’s Dome. A good weekend read, or…try this much shorter piece).

So, we have Florence, but in fact just a sliver of her most important pieces and parts, and that’s what makes this file unique, important, and so very interesting.

Florence Day

Let me direct your attention to the third image just above. The area imaged in Xp11.26 represents about one half of the area modeled in this pleasantly affordable file, yet let your eyes linger over the image for a moment, concentrating on the huge dome. Look at the light and shadows on the visible surfaces. Would you say the effect is almost photographic? Now, look at the first two images just below, of the same structures – only now at night. Look at the shadows on the round structures in the band just under the dome. Subtle? Yes. True to life? Definitely so. These are not simple cut and paste jobs taken from the Google Warehouse, but highly optimized custom photographic textures, and the results speak for themselves. This new Florence file represents a potential paradigm shift, too, but more on that in a minute.

Florence night

In order to make this little miracle of a file work for you, I’d recommend getting tdg’s LIRQ Aeroporto di Firenze-Peretola (download link here). If you’d like to see more images or our review of the airport file from last March, try this link. That said, this is a sweet little scenery file and you’ll need it to base your explorations of the area covered by this file. The Busy Bee Norway livery seen below on Jack’s 732 can be found here, btw.


LIRQ is a focus city for Vueling; note the other carriers and destinations served here.

The principle scenic items covered in this city file include:

  • Santa Maria Del Fiore
  • Palazzo VecchioPonte Vecchio
  • Palazzo Pitti
  • Uffizzi Museum
  • Santa Croce
  • Santa Maria Novella
  • Orsanmichele
  • Badia Fiorentina,
  • San Firenze
  • Palazzo Strozzi,
  • The ruins at orte Belvedere
  • San Miniato
  • San Salvatore Al Monte
  • Fortezza Da Basso
  • Palazzo Spini Feroni
  • Palazzo di Giustizia
  • Villa Petraia
  • Accademia Della Crusca
  • Hotel Hilton
  • Stadio, Torre San Nicolò

…which, as you can tell, includes items located well away from the city center, yet that are also of historic importance. And note, the local football stadium is modeled so what else could you ask for? I mean…really?

Now, as for the whole notion of a paradigm shift…?

This file costs about the same as a burger, fries and a Coke (or Dr Pepper, if you’re lucky enough to have that in your area), so about 12 bucks and some coin. Call it ten euros.

Next, consider that tdg’s file is freeware, yet almost payware quality. So, there’s no reason why you can’t buy this little file and still have a nice airport to go along with it.

Now, imagine what happens if this developer sells a bunch of these and makes some serious money.

Can you not see the potential results? Flying into Athens and seeing the Parthenon and the Acropolis – at night? Not the entire city, mind you, but a handful of her most alluring treasures. Or Rome – can you see Vatican City and a handful of the more famous buildings and monuments? Or Hadrian’s Wall stretching across the north of England? All sorts of new cultural diversions await our passing landscapes, but only if this little file sells, and sells well. Because then, and perhaps only then more scenery developers will jump on this bandwagon, and soon enough we might find our Custom Scenery folders awash in meaningfully interesting scenic landmark files like this one…all gloriously rendered in extreme detail…yet each incorporating little slivers of place that might otherwise never show up in Xp.

Yes, DD has given us New York City, Moscow, Warsaw, and now Seattle, but these are insanely huge files that cost as much as most major airport files. This Florence file, on the other hand, covers a much smaller area but with insanely detailed historical character. And no, our current crop of VFR City files don’t even come close to what you’ll find in this gem.

So? A little paradigm shift, or one more burger. You decide, but before you do…think of the possibilities. Yet if developers can’t make money the well runs dry, doesn’t it?

Get it here. Please.

And no, we’re not affiliated with these guys.

Hasta later –


This entry was posted in First Look, Scenery: Europe and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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