An Italian art researcher says “he had no doubt” about which bridge had been painted into the background of the Mona Lisa, the iconic Leonardo da Vinci painting hanging behind glass in the Louvre museum in Paris.
The researcher Silvano Vincenti said the bridge was the Romito di Laterina, an Etruscan-Roman structure in the Italian province of Arezzo. Vincenti’s theory was based on historical documents, drone images, photographs of the area, and noticing the same number of arches, four, in Leonardo’s painting and the Romito.
Previous theories about the background of the 16th-century oil painting have identified the bridge as the Ponte Bobbio, in the northern city of Piacenza, as well as the Ponte Buriano, which is also in the Tuscan province of Arezzo. However, both of these bridges have six arches, compared to the Romito’s four.
According to the Guardian, only one arch remains at the Romito, which stretched across the Arno river, as well as the foundation of the bridge on the opposite riverbank.
Historical documents belonging to the Medici family in the state archives of Florence showed that the Romito bridge was functioning and busy between 1501 and 1503, Vincenti told reporters at a foreign press association in Rome. During this period, da Vinci was also in the area at the service of a cardinal from a noble family and then for a statesman from the Republic of Florence.
“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,” Vinceti said.
The mayor of Laterina, Simona Neri, said Vinceti’s theory about the bridge was a source of excitement for many of the residents in her town of 3,500 people, with hopes for more tourism in the area from admirers of the Mona Lisa painting. “We need to try to protect what’s left of the bridge, which will require funding,” Neri said.