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Italy wants loan of Mona Lisa

June 24, 2011 at 12:50 PM
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FLORENCE, Italy, June 24 (UPI) -- An Italian group says it will launch a petition drive to have Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa sent to Florence in 2013.

The National Committee for Historical, Cultural and Environmental Heritage together with the Province of Florence has initiated a drive to gather 100,000 signatures for a petition asking the Louvre in Paris to loan the masterpiece to the city, Italian news agency ANSA reported Friday.

The loan would celebrate the 100th anniversary of the painting being found in Florence in 1913 two years after it had been stolen from the Paris museum by thieves dressed as janitors, the petition organizers said.

"The Mona Lisa's return to Florence in 2013, 100 years after her recovery, would have enormous cultural and historical value," said Committee President Silvano Vinceti.

The Louvre was quick to brush off the plans, however, saying transporting the work is "unimaginable" because of its fragility.

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