A team of researchers is set to begin the search for skull fragments belonging to Lisa Gherardini, believed to be the model for the Mona Lisa, in order to perform a facial reconstruction to confirm if this is the case.
The BBC’s Duncan Kennedy in Rome says although she has one of the most recognisable faces and the most enigmatic of smiles, for five centuries nobody has really known who she is.
Gherardini has long been thought to be a model who posed for the picture, although some experts say the final portrait may be a composite of other faces.
The research work is going on at the St Orsola convent in central Florence. A recently discovered death certificate suggested Gherardini died there in 1542.
Story: BBC News | Photo: AP