Jeanne Kalogridis

The I, Mona Lisa Places

Here is the Duomo, also known as Santa Maria del Fiore (Saint Mary of the Flower – the lily in this instance, symbol of Florence). This is how it appeared in Lisa’s time, before the façade was added in the 1700s. Note the octagonal building in the foreground – the famous Baptistery of Saint John, where all babies were baptized, and where Lisa married Francesco Giocondo on March 5, 1495. In I, MONA LISA, I created a scene wherein Lisa’s mother secretly takes her to visit the Duomo for the first time on December 15, 1491.


The Ponte Santa Trinita, aka The Santa Trinita Bridge, spanning the River Arno, is shown here as it appears from the Ponte Vecchio. This is the bridge that leads directly to the neighborhood of Santa Spirito, where Lisa Gherardini was born.




Here's a view of the Palazzo Medici (the Medici Palace) on the Via Larga (literally, "Broadway) as it appeared in Lorenzo's time. You can see how it truly was built to be both a villa and a fortress -- old Cosimo meant for it to be defensible and to last a long, long time. Today it's the Medici-Riccardi Museum. This is the setting for the scene where Lisa meets Lorenzo, Leonardo and Botticelli in I, MONA LISA.