A small town in Tuscany is abuzz with excitement as Italian historian Silvano Vinceti claims to have solved the mystery of the bridge painted in the backdrop of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. After extensive research, Vinceti is certain that the Romito di Laterina bridge in the province of Arezzo is the bridge depicted in the painting. This discovery puts an end to years of speculation and controversy over the bridge’s identity.
While the painting’s subject, Lisa del Giocondo, has long been debated, the identity of the bridge has also sparked discussion. Previous theories have identified the bridge as Ponte Buriano or Ponte Bobbio. However, Vinceti used historical documents, drone images, and comparisons between the painting and photographs of the area to conclude that it was indeed Romito.
One of the most compelling pieces of evidence is the number of arches: the bridge in Leonardo’s painting has four arches, just like the Romito, while Ponte Buriano has six and Ponte Bobbio has more than six. Additionally, Medici family documents found in Florence’s state archives confirmed that the bridge was in use during the time that Leonardo was in the Val d’Arno area. The bridge was a significant shortcut that reduced travel between Arezzo, Fiesole, and Florence by several hours.
Although only one arch of the Romito remains, along with the foundations on the opposite side of the riverbank, Vinceti used its size to establish that four arches of the same size would have fit perfectly across the stretch of the river in the painting. He also found evidence that Leonardo often stayed in Fiesole at the time with an uncle who was a priest.
The mayor of Laterina, Simona Neri, expressed her excitement about Vinceti’s theory and hopes that it will attract more tourists to the area. She acknowledged that they would need funding to protest what remains of the bridge. Vinceti’s claims have caused some rivalry with nearby Buriano, where a poster of the Mona Lisa stands next to a signpost for its bridge.
Vinceti has made other claims about the Mona Lisa in the past, such as suggesting that Leonardo used a male and female model in the portrait, which hangs behind bulletproof glass in the Louvre in Paris. Nonetheless, his latest discovery has captivated the town of Laterina and put to rest a long-standing mystery about the famous painting.