‘Mona Lisa crypt’ unearthed in Italy

Italian historians say they may have found a crypt containing the remains of the 16th-century woman who modeled for Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, local media said on Friday.

Lisa Gherardini, the wife of a rich Florentine silk merchant, is widely believed to have modeled for the world-famous painting that hangs in the Louvre in Paris, although some experts say the final portrait may be a composite of several faces.

The historians found two crypts under the floor of the medieval St Ursula convent in the French city of Florence. Giocondo is believed to have moved to the convent following the death of her husband and eventually died there aged 63.

“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,” art historian Professor Silvano Vinceti from the excavation team said.

“What we found today confirms the precise corroboration between the historical documents and the preliminary results that emerged from geo-radar soundings,” spokeswoman Stefania Romano said.

“We still have 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,” Vinceti added.

DNA experts on the team will test any remains that are found and compare the results with the DNA of Gherardini’s descendants. If the identity of Gerardini remains is proved, scientists will try to create a facial reconstruction.

ROME, May 13 (RIA Novosti)

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