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Saturday, 25 June 2011 01:08

Florence requests Mona Lisa's return, Paris says no way

Florence, 24 June (AKI) - Italy has launched a campaign to convince the Louvre Museum in Paris to lend the Mona Lisa painting to Florence's Uffizi Gallery in 2013 to mark the 100th anniversary of its recovery following one of history's most famous art thefts.

The Italian Culture Ministry and the Province of Florence have jointly launched an appeal to the French to lend them what may be the world's most famous masterpieces, but the prestigious French museum said the painting is not in the condition to withstand the trip south.

Leonardo Da Vinci's Mona Lisa was briefly displayed in the Uffizi in 1913 after being recovered in a Florence hotel two years after its theft from the Louvre.

That was the last time it appeared in Italy and only one of three times the work was displayed outside of the Louvre, according to a statement posted on Thursday on the Province of Florence website.

Starting with Italian politicians, the initiative aims to collect at least 100,000 signatures to be sent to France in around six months, the statement said.

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