EFEFlorence

Italian researchers will be working for the next 15 days to determine whether or not the remains found in the Florentine Convent of Santa Ursula belong to Lisa Gherardini, the model depicted in Leonardo Da Vinci's famous painting "The Mona Lisa".

Silvano Vinceti, the head of the study, made the announcement on Thursday in an interview with Efe in which he expressed his optimism in achieving the goal to which he has dedicated his entire career: finding Mona Lisa.

Vinceti's research led him to the Convent of Santa Ursula in the Italian city of Florence, and according to the Book of the Dead of the Basilica of San Lorenzo, Gherardini was buried there following her death in July 1542.

During excavations by archeologists, the remains of nine bodies were unearthed, but six of them are believed to date back to the century preceding the death of the alleged Mona Lisa.

However, there are still the remains of three bodies currently undergoing carbon-14 dating, the results of which would confirm if they are contemporaneous with Gherardini, which would lead to announcements of "high probability" in finding Da Vinci's model.

Vinceti explained "if carbon-14 confirmed that these remains date back to the 16th century, or that one of these bodies belongs to the same era that witnessed the death of the Mona Lisa, then we can claim the high probability of finally having found Mona Lisa."

However, the expert added that it would still only be a probability, because even if body was Mona Lisa's contemporary, it would still be necessary to prove that they actually belong to the mysterious women in the painting.

Thus, the search may be redirected to DNA testing, as there are no other samples that researchers can examine.

The entire Gherardini family, her husband and two sons Piero and Francesco, were buried in the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella, located in the heart of the Tuscan capital, yet despite several attempts, it was not possible to run DNA tests until now.

Vinceti stressed "thanks to developing new technologies, and DNA samples recovered from the remains in Santa Ursula, we will be able to reconstruct eye, hair and skin colors", and compare them with the young woman portrayed in Da Vinci's most famous painting, a permanent fixture in Paris's Louvre Museum.