Google has added several new tours of historic sites in Google Street View, the service which gives Web surfers a street-level view of their surroundings using Google Maps. It's now offering virtual tours of historic sites, including popular landmarks, palaces, monuments and castles located in Italy and France.
Starting today, you can tour sites like Rome's Colosseum and the Imperial Forum, the Thermae (Baths) of Diocletian, France's Chateau Fontainebleu, the French countryside, and much more.
Some other notable new tours include Rome's Palatine Hill, the Appian Way, Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, and Ponte Vecchio.
The Colosseum in Rome
All the historic sites Google has on file are now listed in the Google Street View gallery, which includes more tours beyond just these new European additions. There are also sections dedicated to cultural sites around the world from UNESCO's World Heritage List, a list of famous landmarks, several popular U.S. highlights, the Hawaii beaches, the ski slopes at Whistler Blackcomb, South Africa's soccer stadiums and a tour of the seven continents.
What's interesting about these "non-street" Street View locales is how they were filmed. Traditionally, with Google Street View, cars with special cameras attached to their roofs drive around the city streets, recording images of the town.
But with these other types of tours, using cars and vans isn't possible. Instead, Google has outfitted a tricycle with camera equipment that lets it take pictures of places that are not accessible by automobile.