Google is trying out a new travel search tool that seems to be aimed primarily at casual travelers that are as concerned about price as they are about a destination.
Say you were thinking about taking a trip this summer to Italy, and were considering a drive northward from Rome to the ancient coastal city of Ravenna. How long would it take? How would you go about finding that out?
Most likely, you’d use Google Maps, which would tell you that by car you could take a variety of routes, all of which would get you to Ravenna in about four and a half hours.
Now say, just hypothetically, that you wanted to make the same trip except — and it’s kind of a big exception — that the year is not 2012 but 200, you’re not traveling by car but by ox cart, and, just for a little extra challenge, let’s say it’s February. How long would that journey take?
To answer that question there’s ORBIS, a sort of “Google Maps for Ancient Rome,” which will tell you that the fastest way for a third-century traveler to get to Ravenna will be to take your ox cart to the sea, board a ship, and sail around Sicily, around the southern coast of Italy, and northward to Ravenna. It will take you nearly 15 days and cost nearly 400 denarii. Over land, the trip will last a month.
Read more. [Image: ORBIS]
We’re happy we live in the age of Ferraris.