"Cerca, trova--seek and you shall find--says a tantalizing five-century-old message painted on a fresco in the council hall of Florence's Palazzo Vecchio.
Researchers now believe these cryptic words could be a clue to the location of a long-lost Leonardo da Vinci painting and are pressing local authorities to allow them to search for the masterpiece of Renaissance art.
Maurizio Seracini, an Italian art researcher, first noticed the message during a survey of the hall 30 years ago, but his team lacked the technology then to see what lay behind Giorgio Vasari's 16th-century fresco, Battle of Marciano in the Chiana Valley.
However, radar and X-ray scans conducted between 2002 and 2003 have detected a cavity behind the section of wall the message was painted on, which Seracini believes may conceal Leonardo's unfinished mural painting, the Battle of Anghiari.
As the website of Anghiari commune explains, the 1440 Battle of Anghiari decided the future of central Italy, though had it not been for Leonardo's apparently failed mural, it might have passed unrecorded. I wonder if Leonardo's mural should be recovered: Since he and contemporaries considered it a failure, is there any reason to put it on display apart from the 21st century's voracious curiosity?