An Italian historian claims to have identified the bridge depicted in the background of the famous Mona Lisa portrait, tracking the location of the landmark to a town in the province of Arezzo in Tuscany, Italy.
The bridge in question is located on the right side of the portrait, just over the shoulder of the woman in the painting - thought to be Madam Lisa Giocondo, an Italian noblewoman. Which particular bridge is depicted has been a subject of academic debate for years.
In Rome, historian Silvano Vinceti said to reporters at the Foreign Press Association that the bridge was the Romito di Laterina on the Arno River. This bridge, located in the countryside near the small town of Laterino, was built in the 16th century and just one of its four arches is still intact.
The most important factor in Vinceti’s determination was the number of arches - when it was standing and in service the bridge had four, matching the painting’s representation.
Similarly, the historian said other aspects of the backdrop lead him to the Romito di Laterina: “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.”
Primary documents were also a part of Vinceti’s research, and he claimed that certain details showed Leonardo da Vinci in corresponding locations at key times.
The mayor of Laterina, Simona Neri, told The Guardian that the historian’s suggestion generated fanfare throughout the town, saying, “We need to try to protect what’s left of the bridge, which will require funding.”
Currently, Laterina notes several historic sites, such as Porta Fredda and Pieve di Santi Ippolito e Cassiano, as key monuments for tourists. It’s likely that Silvano Vinceti’s claims will bring interest to the town’s newest hotspot.
Art historian Vinceti has made the portrait his life’s work. In 2015, he claimed to have found the bones of Lisa Gherardini under the floor at St Ursula’s convent in Florence.