Mona Lisa crypt found in Florence



The final resting place of the woman who posed for the Mona Lisa painting has reportedly been found in Florence, Italy.

Professor Silvano Vinceti is leading the hunt for Lisa Gherardini Del Giocondo who is widely believed to be the mystery woman behind the 500-year-old painting by Leonardo da Vinci.

The crypt was discovered under the floor of the St Ursula convent in Florence after a two-week search by experts using ground penetrating radar and ancient maps.

Professor Vinceti told the Telegraph: 'We are roughly where the altar stood and we have found not one crypt but two, one is older than the other and we believe that one of them is that of Lisa Gherardini.

'We are still a long way to go and we will have to work several more days before we actually reach the tomb and open it to recover the bones.

'So far we have found some beautiful bits of pottery and old bones but the real discovery is still to be made – when we reach the crypt and open it to see if there are any remains.'

Natalia Gucciardini Strozzi, the Italian princess ancestor of Gherardini, was present at the dig.
Initially she had opposed it saying her relation should be allowed to 'rest in peace' but now she is giving it her backing after meeting Professor Vinceti and his team.

She explained: 'At first the thought of the dig horrified me but now I am fascinated, I find it interesting to think that this is the final resting place of one of my ancestors.'

Lisa Gheradini, who died in 1542, was the wife of a rich silk merchant named Francesco del Giocondo, and, in fact, in Italy the painting is known as La Gioconda'.

The aim of the dig is to find Mona Lisa's remains, compare her DNA with that of two of her children buried in Florence's Santissima Annunziata church, then reconstruct her face and compare it to Leonardo's painting.

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