The identity of the model used for Leonardo da Vinci’s famous Mona Lisa has fascinated historians for centuries.
Art experts believe she was Lisa Gherardini Del Gioconda, a merchant’s wife and neighbour of da Vinci.
On Friday, archaeologists entered a Florentine tomb thought to contain the ashes and bones of two of Lisa Gherardini’s sons and husband Francesco Del Giacondo.
Bone fragments will be DNA tested to check the family connection to da Vinci’s famous muse.
Antonio Moretti, a geologist from L’Aquila University told euronews:
“We were very lucky I’d say, because not only there is a good amount of bone remains, but they are also disposed of in order at the bottom of the crypt, with a plate indicating they belong to the Giocondo family.” The plate in Latin reads, “Ashes of the deceased Giocondo family”.
Two years ago, archaeologists excavated what they suspect are the bones of Gherardini herself, in a convent in Saint Ursula.
By comparing the bones of the nun to the remains in the crypt in Florence, researchers hope for a family match.
It might then be possible to reconstruct what her face would have looked like, using bone fragments and ultimately end one of art’s most enduring mysteries.