FLORENCE, Italy, Aug. 10 (UPI) -- Authorities in Florence, Italy, have opened the tomb of the woman believed to be model who sat for Leonardo da Vinci's famous Mona Lisa to test her DNA.
Researchers will test a skeleton believed to be that of Lisa Gherardini Del Giocondo against the remains of her son, Italy's ANSA news agency reported.
Remains thought to belong to Giocondo were exhumed from an archaeological dig in a central Florence convent last year, not her family tomb where the remains of her husband, Bartolomeo Del Giocondo, his two sons, Piero and Bartolomeo, were kept.
"Only Piero was the offspring of Francesco and Lisa, while Bartolomeo was the son of the first wife," said Silvano Vinceti, who is charge of the National Committee for the Valuation of Historic, Cultural and Environmental Assets.
"Thus the goal is to understand if the DNA from one of the sons matches that of the female DNA [uncovered at the convent]," Vinceti said.
"Right now we are carrying out Carbon-14 tests on three of the eight skeletons found in St. Ursula, which could be the age Lisa Gherardini was when she died," said Vinceti. "The Carbon-14 test will tell us which of the three dates back to the 1500s. Only then will we know which skeleton to do the final DNA test on."
Test results are expected to be back in September.
Meanwhile, about 150,000 people have signed a petition asking that the Mona Lisa painting be returned to Italy from France for a visit, ANSA reported.
The request from the Italian committee for the development of cultural heritage, which has made similar requests in the past, said that the painting, which is believed to have been completed in Florence, should be returned to Italy if only for a short while.