The magic of Lecco at dusk, Source: Depositphotos

Can this Italian town's landmarks be seen behind Mona Lisa?

Can this Italian town's landmarks be seen behind Mona Lisa?

A US geologist claims to have solved the centuries-old mystery

Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is back in the news and this time the subject of debate is not the woman depicted in the portrait but rather the mysterious scenery serving as her background. A US geologist and art historian Ann Pizzorusso now claims to have solved the exact location of the landscape and that it is a small Italian town, called Lecco, on the shores of Lake Como in the Alps.

At a geology conference recently held in Lecco itself, Pizzorusso said she had identified the southwestern Alps overlooking the city as a key element in the backdrop of what is probably the world’s most famous painting.

She claims that what can be seen in the background of the painting are the town’s 14th-century Azzone Visconti bridge, the Alps overlooking the area and Lake Garlate. Pizzorusso said she had studied meticulously the documented journeys of Leonardo da Vinci and that he had indeed visited the area during his life.

A magical place even today

Lecco is actually located between two lakes – Como and Garlate – renowned for their outstanding beauty even today. The town is typical of the Alpine lakes region with the majestic backdrop of the mountains contrasted by the serenity of the waters below.

To most Italians, however, it is known as the setting of The Betrothed, a 19th-century novel, which is the country’s cultural equivalent to Gone with the Wind.

Other art experts, however, disagree with the proposition made by Pizzorusso. To many, the scenic background in Mona Lisa simply represents an idealized Renaissance landscape, which does not depict a specific place in the real world.

Yet other art historians have proposed other places in Italy as possible inspirations for the background, such as Montefeltro seen from the heights of the Valmarecchia Valley or the Romito bridge in Tuscany.



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