Real bridge in the Mona Lisa found by art historian; Tuscan town rejoices

“Of course! This is Italy – we are famous for our campanilismo”
Amal Jos Chacko
The Louvre museum.jpg
The Louvre museum.


A press conference broke the hearts of a thousand people and may lead to a rivalry between two Tuscan villages.

Silvano Vinceti, an Italian historian, has broken the news that the bridge portrayed in the painting of Mona Lisa is the Romito bridge in the Tuscan town of Laterina, reports the Telegraph.

This goes against the popular notion of the Ponte Buriano, a stone bridge built in the 13th century spanning the Arno River, being the bridge in Leonardo Da Vinci's painting.

“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,” said Vinceti at the press conference held in Rome.

While this revelation might not be digested easily by the good folks of the village of Ponte Buriano who made the painting and their bridge the keystone of their local tourism campaign, the mayor of Laterina, Simona Neri, was excited about the prospect of attracting tourists to her town.

“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. There’ll be some rivalry; we’ll need to put up a poster, too,” she enthused.

The Mona Lisa, an archetypal masterpiece of the Italian Renaissance and the best-known painting in the world, is believed to be the portrait of Lisa Gherardini, wife of a Florentine cloth merchant.

Painted by Leonardo Da Vinci in the sfumato style yielding a soft hazy effect, the Mona Lisa has been in the news for various reasons over the years: from parodies to interpretations by historians to being stolen from the Louvre in Paris, where it currently resides.

Historian, but also a detective

In 2011, Silvano Vinceti claimed to have found the letter “S” in the left eye of the painting, the letter “L” in the right eye, and the number “72” under the arched bridge.

Further scrutiny on this bridge has led Vinceti to his latest revelation.

Vinceti studied documents belonging to the Medici family archives and compared the painting to drone-shot images of the area. He revealed the number of arches to be the most telling detail: the painting had a four-arched bridge, just like the Romito, whereas the Ponte Buriano had six.

The documents also divulged Leonardo to have resided in Fiesole—one of the towns connected by the Romito bridge— with an uncle between 1501 and 1503.

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