Renaissance Florence Springs to Life with Time Traveler Tours’ New Interactive Multimedia Mobile Tourism App & Digital Book

Buried Alive:
The Secret Michelangelo Took to His Grave

NEW YORK CITY, N.Y. (March 23, 2017)—It’s a story… It’s a tour… It’s a Story Tour, and just in time for summer travel planning too. Time Traveler Tours launches Buried Alive: The Secret Michelangelo Took His Grave on the Google Play & Apple App Stores today. The story-driven mobile treasure hunt to the Renaissance, written by digital storyteller Sarah Towle in collaboration with award-winning children’s author Mary Hoffman, enables users to discover 16th century Florence through the eyes of master sculptor and tour guide, Michelangelo. The app combines the traditional power of narrative with the magic of the touch screen to create an interactive portal to the past, whether in the city, home, Florence museum, or school. It’s Horrible Histories meets Pokémon Go with a bit of Lonely Planet thrown in. 

Everyone knows Michelangelo. But few know that he once hid out, in fear for his life. For 446 years, no one had a clue as to where he hid or that he left behind buried treasure. That’s the mystery at the heart of this pioneering mobile story and touring experience to Florence. 

Florence boasts 174 study abroad programs catering to a new cohort of young adult students every semester; over a dozen Italian language programs, admitting new students monthly; and 13 million annual visitors, a large majority of them traveling as a family. Untold numbers of art and history students explore the era of the Renaissances each year. TTT’s app offers this sizable audience a new, more immersive educational experience: it turns Florence into a treasure hunt. As users follow in Michelangelo’s footsteps, they are transported back through time to learn about the master’s youth, how he came to be the artist we know today, and his connection to the Medici inner circle. Time-travelers explore eleven of the city’s most iconic sites — from The Duomo to the Piazza della Signoria — in the company of a genius.

Key features of Buried Alive: The Secret Michelangelo Took His Grave, include:

  • Worldclass storytelling

  • Professionally acted audio narration (Italian edition in production)

  • 130+ archival illustrations, courtesy of Florence’s prominent cultural institutions, and

  • Gamification, such as

    • 22 Treasure Hunt

    • 7 Challenges, and

    • 8 History Hacks, which compel users to make history their own and share their experience of Renaissance Florence via social media.

“Too many young people think history is boring and museums are dull,” said Towle. “Time Traveler Tours aims not only to make history fun, but also to make history matter, to #TurnHistoryOn. Our mandate is to cause history to leap from the screen to the surroundings and engage the imagination. Our mission is to ensure that no one says, ‘history is boring,’ ever again.”

Buried Alive: The Secret Michelangelo Took His Grave was funded through a successful 2015 Kickstarter campaign. Over 300 backers and in-kind supporters contributed $41,491 to help bring the project to life. It is endorsed by such prominent Florence institutions as the Foundation Casa Buonarroti, The Bargello Museum, Medici Chapels, and Basilica San Lorenzo. 

The app is available for download for free – at least until the remaining Kickstarter funds hold out – in both the App Store and Google Play. The e-, audio, and print editions of the tale will follow throughout 2017 under the imprint Time Traveler Tales.

Look for more exciting time-travel adventures from Time Traveler Tours & Tales, including Revolutionary Paris, Cold War Berlin, Pepys’ London, and Cuba through the lives of her contemporary artists.

About Time Traveler Tours
Time Traveler Tours makes story-driven treasure hunts to historic places enhanced with gasification and augmented reality experiences. They combine the traditional power of narrative with the magic of the touchscreen to create portals to the past for student, family, and educational travelers. They put history and culture at the tips of your fingers through compelling, first-person storytelling and context-rich interactive games. A digital-first, multi-format media startup founded by educator and digital storyteller turned app developer, Sarah Towle, Time Traveler Tours’ mission is to ensure that no young person says, “History is boring!” ever again. 

Time Traveler Tours’ first mobile Story Tour, Beware Madame la Guillotine: A Revolutionary Tour of Paris, launched in 2011 to raves, winning numerous awards between 2011 and 2013, including Apple New & Noteworthy; School Library Journal Top 10 App; TeachersWithApps Certified App; TeachersWithApps Educational App of Distinction; and World Youth and Student Educational (WYSE) Travel Confederation Top 10 Educational Travel App. Learn how to #TurnHistoryOn with Time Traveler Tours: visit


Mark Southern
US: +1 (302) 261-2644
UK: +44 (0) 7557-141-236


Sarah TowleComment