How were past cities planned and built and how did they function? These are some of the questions I am investigating in my research. One of the aspects that I am interested in is how cultural heritage can be incorporated into urban planning policies and development projects. In my view, digital tools offer an unprecedented opportunity for knowledge integration and sharing between the city of the past and the city of the present to foster heritage policies and community participation.

The multi-period urban site of Koroneia, Boeotia
Overlay of the terrain model, urban survey data and 3D reconstruction of Koroneia with a portion of the CityEngine rule file that I wrote to generate the 3D city model (read more in Piccoli 2018).
Ancient Haliartos, Boeotia
The provisional 3D reconstruction of Haliartos with color-coded uncertainity degrees. Based on the survey data gathered during the Haliartos House Project (led by Emeri Farinetti, University of Roma3)
Pilot project Amsterdam4D: Workflow from GIS data to 3D city modelling with CityEngine. Read more here.

Screencast of the CityEngine workspace showing how alternative hypotheses about Koroneia’s distribution of houses can be created by changing the initial slope used as input value. You can view my provisional 3D reconstructions of Koroneia’s urban extent here and access the rule files of this project here.


I take an interdisciplinary approach to examine houses as architectural structures and microcosmoi of human activities. Questions that I investigate in my research concentrate on the use and experience of space, agency and self-representation. To do so, I examine a combination of archaeological, archival, building historical and (art) historical sources and I use digital methods to integrate these sources and visualize and evaluate hypotheses. A key component of my research is the creation of 3D reconstructions of architectural heritage to visualize past building phases and forgotten room functions and to make this knowledge accessible.

3D reconstruction hypothesis of the entrance hall of Pieter de Graeff's and Jacoba Bicker's house at Herengracht 573, Amsterdam (Piccoli, forthcoming). You can explore it here.
3D reconstruction of De Graeff's house with highlighted the route that the notary clerks took to inventorize his properties upon his death.
[Coming soon!] Analysis of the building historical phases of the house where Rembrandt lived in Amsterdam, currently Het Rembrandthuis museum (with G. van Tussenbroek).
A schematic 3D reconstruction of De Graeff's house allows the spatial mapping of Pieter's and Jacoba's painting collection in its original domestic context to analyse their symbolic and emotional values (work in progress; paper presented with W. Li at the HNA conference 2022).
Schematic 3D reconstruction of the house of the painter Gillis van Coninxloo at the Oude Turfmarkt, superimposed on the results of the archaeological excavations in the area. Read more here.
Vernacular houses in Boeotia (see Piccoli 2011, and Piccoli & Vionis 2011).
Examples of procedurally modelled (late) classical houses created for the case study of Koroneia. You can have a closer look at one of the examples here
Rendering of the interior of the Byzantine church of Agios Dimitrios, Boeotia (commissioned by dr. A. Vionis, University of Cyprus).
Analysis and reconstruction of the building historical phases of the Church of Agios Thomas (Boeotia, Greece).
3D reconstruction hypothesis of the Frankish tower at Haliartos and its access system.

The Virtual Interiors webviewer allows the exploration of 3D models and contextual information. Would you like to try it yourself? You can explore my 3D reconstruction of the entrance hall in the house of the Amsterdam patrician and VOC director Pieter de Graeff (1638-1707) at Herengracht 573 here. Read more about the viewer in Huurdeman & Piccoli 2021.

In this invited talk I gave at the Dutch-Flemish chapter of the CAA in 2021, I presented some of my works to illustrate what I think are some of the contribution of 3D reconstructions to archaeological and historical research.


During my master’s degree in Book and Digital Studies I started to take an interest in how knowledge and ideas have been transmitted through books and visual media from the early modern period onwards and how changes in media (including the digital turn) impacted this process. I delved into topics such as the international networks that scholars and publishers created to exchange information in the Republic of Letters, early modern private libraries and book collections, and the reception of antiquities in print media and films. This knowledge also helps me to reflect upon my own work on digital 3D modelling and how the images of the past that I create may be received and interpreted/decoded in the future.

Provisional 3D reconstruction of De Graeff's home library (Piccoli, forthcoming).
How ruins of classical architecture were visually reconstructed over the centuries: from Giovanni Marcanova, Collectio Antiquitatum (Estense Ms. Lat. 992, fol. 27R, 1465) to Giuseppe Gatteschi 1924, Restauri della Roma imperiale, (pp. 29-30) and Italo Gismondi's plaster model of Rome. Read more in Piccoli 2018, pp. 6-48.
The publication of the Thesaurus Antiquitatum Italiae was not a straightforward task for the Leiden-based publisher Pieter van der Aa. Letters he exchanged with Italian scholars shed light on the 'behind the scene' of this cumbersome undertaking, see Piccoli 2013.

Digital tools support the analysis and interpretation of the case studies that I work on. I specialized in 3D modelling and GIS mapping tools to integrate archaeological, building historical and comparative sources and to visualize reconstruction hypotheses in the rendering style (grey-scale or photorealistic) appropriate for the research questions I am investigating. Over the years I developed advanced skills in a variety of software packages and methodologies, such as CAD drawing (AutoCAD), hand-made 3D modelling (Blender), rule-based 3D modelling (Esri CityEngine), image-based modelling (Meshroom), (3D) GIS (QGIS and ArcGIS).

AutoCAD drawing of building plans and sections
The re-assembled plans and sections create the starting point for the recostruction of the house of Pieter de Graeff and Jacoba Bicker.
GIS mapping of archival and archaeological documentation to establish the location of the house of the painter Gillis van Coninxloo at the Oude Turfmarkt, Amsterdam.
One of the techniques that I used to model the hundreds of books in De Graeff's home library. You can see an example of another technique here
Workflow for the creation of a 3D GIS of the architectural survey finds at Koroneia (read more in Piccoli 2018, pp. 229-32).

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