FLORENCE, ITALY – The Italian news agency ANSA reports that a team led by art historian Silvano Vincenti, head of the National Committee for the Enhancement of Historical, Cultural and Environmental Heritage, may have discovered a tomb in a former convent that could contain the skeleton of Lisa Gherardini, thought to be the subject of Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.
Vinceti says that only two women were buried at the medieval convent of St. Ursula: Mona Lisa Gherardini, in 1542, and another noblewoman, Maria del Riccio.
Gherardini is widely believed to have inspired the Da Vinci’s iconic painting. Vinceti told the bones will be tested at the University of Bologna for DNA matches to the bones of Gherardini’s two sons, who were buried in Florence’s Santissima Annunziata church.
Discovery News reports that the project ultimately aims to reconstruct the faces of the women buried there, perhaps even recreating Mona Lisa’s mysterious smile.