The Italian Almanac

Mona Lisa

Italian News - January 28

Museum curators yesterday announced plans to take Leonardo da Vinciís masterpiece, the Mona Lisa, to Italy to celebrate the paintingís 500th anniversary.

The move would be only the third time the painting has left France, where it hangs in the Louvre in Paris. Officials hope to display the work at the Pitti museum in Florence. The Mona Lisa first left France in 1963 when it went to the United States and again in 1974 when it travelled to Tokyo in Japan.

According to Renaissance documents, da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa some time between 1503 and 1506. Unlike most paintings of the era, the Mona Lisa has no dates or signature. Her close-lipped smile has mystified people for centuries, as well as provoked countless theories over just she is. Most experts believe the painting, known in Italian as La Gioconda, is a portrait of Lisa Gherardini, the wife of a Florentine merchant named Francesco del Giocondo.