The remains of the Italian woman who was the model for Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa were dug up 30 years ago and now lie in a municipal rubbish tip, an Italian expert has claimed.
Lisa Gherardini died in Florence in 1542 and was buried in the grounds of Sant'Orsola convent.
Over the centuries the Franciscan convent was used as a tobacco factory and a university teaching facility but in the 1980s a redevelopment was launched to convert it into a barracks for Italy's tax police, the Guardia di Finanza.
The developers had no knowledge that it was the final resting place of da Vinci's famous model – that was only discovered in 2007 – and during work to build an underground car park, the convent's foundations were excavated, along with the crumbling remains of graves and tombs.
The rubble was then dumped in a municipal landfill site on the outskirts of Florence.
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