London: Centuries-old mystery about the identity of the woman in Leonardo da Vinci's famous portrait, Mona Lisa may soon be revealed.

According to an English Daily, Prof Silvano Vincetart and other art historians are planning to exhume the remains of the woman in a bid to extract her DNA and recreate her face.

The site for the dig is a former convent where the coffin of noblewoman Lisa Gherardini Del Giocondo is believed to be buried. She is thought to have been the woman behind the enigmatic smile of the Mona Lisa, the 500-year-old painting.

"An initial survey of the building has revealed a 500 year old crypt in the grounds below and we firmly believe it is the resting place of Lisa Gherardini who's the inspiration for Mona Lisa”, Prof Vinceti said.

"We will compare the DNA that we find in the bones from the former convent to those of remains in two other churches in Florence where two of her children are buried", he added.

Lisa Gheradini, who died in 1542, was the wife of a rich silk merchant named Francesco del Giocondo. In Italy, the Mona Lisa is known as La Gioconda.

Digging will begin at the end of the month. However, there are fears that the project will be unsuccessful as locals have told the team that some 30 years ago the remains of the convent were bulldozed into a rubbish dump.

(Agencies)