Giuseppe Pallanti found a death notice in the archives of a church in
Born Lisa Gherardini in May 1479, she is thought to have been the second wife of Del Giocondo, a wealthy silk merchant, with whom she had five children.
While intrigue has surrounded the identity of the woman in the famous unsigned, undated Leonardo da Vinci painting housed at the Louvre in
Sant'Orsola, where she died at age 63, now disused and in ruins, is near the
"It was in this convent that Mona Lisa placed her youngest daughter
Pallanti, author of "Mona Lisa Revealed: The True Identity of Leonardo's Model," has spent nearly three decades combing
Another researcher, Da Vinci expert Carlo Pedretti, praised Pallanti for the discovery and urged a search at the site for Lisa Gherardini's remains.
"Thanks to modern techniques, scientists can determine her physical aspect, maybe even her face and thereby make an important contribution" to establishing her identity, he told the ANSA news agency.