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Historian Says He’s Identified Background in Mona Lisa Painting

An Italian historian, Silvano Vinceti, claims to have identified the bridge in the background of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa as the Romito di Laterina bridge in the province of Arezzo.

Vinceti argues that the Romito bridge is the true inspiration behind the painting and created a virtual reconstruction to prove his claim. Though other Italian villages, including Ponte Buriano and Ponte Bobbio, have also claimed to be the site of the Mona Lisa bridge, Vinceti’s research asserts that the Romito bridge is the correct one.

Vinceti used historical documents from state archives in Florence and drone-captured images to create the virtual rendering since the Romito bridge no longer stands in full. Only one arch and a few foundations of the bridge remain. Vinceti stated that the distinctive form of the Arno along that stretch of territory corresponds to what Leonardo portrayed in the landscape to the left of the noblewoman depicted in the famous painting. He also pointed out that the bridge in the Mona Lisa has four arches, and the Romito bridge had four arches before it partially collapsed.

Simona Neri, the mayor of Laterina, expressed excitement about Vinceti’s work and said that the town hopes the news will intrigue and fascinate local and foreign tourists, leading to an opportunity to relaunch tourism in the area. Neri claimed a bike path in the area of the Romito bridge is currently being developed.

The Mona Lisa was painted in the 16th century while da Vinci lived in Florence. Though it is impossible to say for certain, many believe the woman in the masterpiece is Lisa del Giocondo, the wife of the Florentine merchant Francesco di Bartolomeo del Giocondo. Others, including Sigmund Freud, believe the portrait’s sitter is da Vinci’s own mother, Caterina.

The actual painting, created on a poplar wood panel, is smaller than many expect, measuring only 77 cm by 53 cm. The Mona Lisa is currently housed behind bulletproof glass at the Louvre in Paris, where millions of tourists congregate to see the masterpiece each year.

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