Italian researchers say they have solved one of the remaining mysteries surrounding Leonardo da Vinci’s painting of the Mona Lisa. Art historian Silvano Vinceti reported that the world-famous image in the background of the Mona Lisa shows the Romito Bridge from Laterina, a place in Tuscany.

The scientist said at a press conference in Rome yesterday that only part of the structure remains today. After research, however, Vicenti is convinced that da Vinci painted the bridge that he himself often saw at the beginning of the 16th century.

The Mona Lisa is one of the most famous oil paintings in the world and is on display in the Louvre in Paris. There have been debates about the work of the painter, inventor and universal genius da Vinci (1452-1519) for centuries, about which landscapes can be seen in the background. A small part of it – the bridge is painted next to the left shoulder of the Mona Lisa – is said to be solved now.

The question of who da Vinci painted at all is still controversial in art history. In Italy the painting is known as “La Gioconda”, named after the wife of a Florentine merchant. Other theories include that the Renaissance painter depicted a different woman, that he might be painting a man, or that he simply did not immortalize a real person in his work.