Cracking a Real-Life Da Vinci Code

The only living character from the best seller thinks he's found the Lost Leonardo

Editech / AP

"Cerca Trova" — seek and you shall find — is shown on a five-century-old fresco by Giorgio Vasari, "Battle of Marciano in the Chiana Valley," in the council hall of Florence's Palazzo Vecchio. Researchers believe these cryptic words could be a clue to the location of a long-lost Leonardo da Vinci painting.

Maurizio Seracini is a serious man, with a seriously square jaw and dark tweed jacket. And he is being taken more seriously than ever now that Italy's Culture Ministry has committed the nation to a full-fledged pursuit of the so-called Lost Leonardo. Seracini, a forensic expert in Renaissance art and architecture, is trying to prove that The Battle of Anghiari--the mural once considered the greatest of all of Leonardo's masterpieces--lies buried in the Sala del Gran Consiglio in Florence's Palazzo Vecchio, behind a wall covered by a mural--a vision of the Battle of Marciano--that was painted in the 16th century.


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