A group of Italians want the Mona Lisa back in Florence in 2013 and plan to gather 100,000 signatures to back their campaign.
The petition for the Louvre to loan the Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece has been launched by the National Committee for Historical, Cultural and Environmental Heritage together with the Province of Florence. Organizers say a loan would celebrate the work being found in Florence in 1913, two years after it had stolen from the Paris museum. ”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, however, moved quickly to dash the Florentines’ hopes of getting to host that famous smile, saying Friday that transporting the work is ”unimaginable” because of its fragility. The Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre in 1911 by robbers dressed as Louvre janitors.
It was recovered two years later inside Italian waiter Vincenzo Peruggia’s hotel room in Florence. It was exhibited briefly in the Uffizi and in Rome before it was returned to the Louvre.