Bobbio, Italy, should probably brace itself for a wave of tourists. Art historian Carla Glori has identified the tiny northern town as the place depicted in the background of the Mona Lisa, based on a numerical code hidden within the painting. In the past, many assumed the background was plucked from Da Vinci’s imagination, but both the twisting road and arched bridge can be traced to Bobbio, Glori tells the Guardian.
Glori had been researching the theory that it was the duke of Milan’s daughter who sat for the painting, rather than Lisa del Giocondo. The duke controlled Bobbio, which held a famous library da Vinci almost surely visited. When researchers discovered the number 72 scrawled under the bridge last year, she realized it must be Bobbio’s bridge—which was nearly destroyed in a 1472 flood. But not everyone agrees; one researcher thinks 72 was a reference to the Kabbalah. “There is no Dan Brown code here,” he said, “just messages that reveal his thinking. Both the numbers seven and two are important in Kabbalism." Click for more Mona Lisa mysteries.