London, Oct 12 (ANI): In a tragic turn of events, the remains of the Italian woman who modelled for Leonardo da Vinci's 'Mona Lisa' were found lying in a municipal rubbish tip, an Italian expert has claimed.
First a tobacco factory, then a university teaching facility and recently being converted into barracks for Italy's tax police, the Guardia di Finanza, the site was found to be the final resting place of da Vinci's famous model, and contained crumbling remains of graves and tombs.
The rubble was then dumped in a municipal landfill site on the outskirts of Florence.
Giuseppe Pallanti, an expert on da Vinci, who has spent 30 years studying the archives trying to establish Lisa Gherardini's final resting place, is convinced her remains are interred in the dump, now a grassy mound nearly 100ft high.
"It is sad that the tomb of Lisa Gherardini has been destroyed without anyone realising it at the time," The Telegraph quoted Pallanti as saying.
"What we found inside is a kind of devastation. All that remains of the old Sant'Orsola convent are the external walls and some fourteenth-century arches," said an architect on the project, Luigi Ulivieri.
The portrait 'Mona Lisa', which now hangs in the Louvre Museum in Paris, was completed by Leonardo in 1506 when she was about 24.
Pallanti wants the authorities to incorporate some sort of commemoration of Gherardini.
"The renovation of Sant'Orsola presents an ideal opportunity to create a memorial to Leonardo and Mona Lisa," he said.
"I would like to see the building named the Mona Lisa Art Centre. What could be more fitting and suitable?" (ANI)