A small town in Italy is celebrating after it was claimed that the bridge painted in the backdrop of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa belongs to the town.
The bridge in the background of the most famous portrait in the world, painted in the early 16th century, has fuelled countless disputes over the years.
Now Italian historian Silvano Vinceti has said he has no doubt that the Romito di Laterina bridge in the province of Arezzo, Tuscany was what Leonardo painted into the countryside landscape behind the enigmatic Mona Lisa.
How the Italian historian found the location of the Mona Lisa bridge
“The distinctive form of the Arno [River] along that stretch of territory corresponds to what Leonardo portrayed in the landscape to the left of the woman depicted in the famous painting,” Vinceti said at a media conference at the Foreign Press Association in Rome on Wednesday.
Vinceti also made a virtual reconstruction of the bridge to show the similarities and drew on documents from the state archives in Florence.
The Romito bridge linked Arezzo, Fiesole and Florence but is now in ruins. Vinceti said he studied drone images of the river banks, the ruins and photographs over the years to determine that the “Etruscan-Roman Romito bridge is unmistakably” the one in the background.
Vinceti measured the width in between the riverbanks and, using the size of the remaining arch, established that four arches of the same size fitted perfectly across the stretch.
“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 said.
Vinceti also found documents that attest to Leonardo often residing in Fiesole at the time, with an uncle who was a priest.
Laterina mayor Simona Neri was also in attendance at the press conference and is excited about the prospect of claiming the bridge to bring tourists to her town of 3,500 people.
“We really hope that this wonderful news will intrigue and fascinate local and foreign tourists, with the knowledge that it will be a great opportunity to relaunch the tourism of our territory on which we can work a lot starting from naturalistic, cultural and monumental valuation,” she said.
“We need to try to protect what’s left of the bridge, which will require funding,” Neri said, noting that there are funds available for most areas linked to Da Vinci and other masters.
“There’ll be some rivalry; we’ll need to put a poster up, too,” she added.
Considered an archetypal masterpiece of the Italian Renaissance, the Mona Lisa has been described as “the best known, the most visited, the most written about, the most sung about, the most parodied work of art in the world.”
The subject of the painting has been definitively identified as Italian noblewoman Lisa del Giocondo.