Florence Hotel La Gioconda Curiosity about the Hotel
Theft and recovery of Leonardo's Gioconda
La Gioconda by Leonardo da Vinci, was the protagonist of one of the most famous singular episodes that has ever happened to a master piece of art, above all because of the motive of the theft. The story of the theft, somewhat romantic, somewhat insane, that has in some way enchanted all, began on Monday, August 21st, 1911. While the Louvre was closed to the public, Louis Beroud, a copyist, went to the museum to produce a replica of the piece by Leonardo, but remained dumbfounded when he discovered that the Mona Lisa had disappeared. The French police fumbled in the dark for a good two years before discovering the truth. Never before had a master piece of art been stolen from a museum, and surely never one so important.
They were even led to believe that it had been a government job; the French blamed the Germans, but many came to the stand, including Pablo Picasso, who was interrogated but immediately released. In 1913, after two years of searching, the painting mysteriously reappeared in Florence. Like an adventure from Arsne Lupin, the theft was committed by Vincenzo Peruggia, an Italian immigrated to France at a young age, who, among many of the jobs he had done, had also mounted the glass shrine where Leonardo's masterpiece was guarded.
No longer working at the Louvre, it wasn't difficult for him to take possession of the painting and leave undisturbed from the museum with the stolen goods under his coat. He hid the canvas in a suitcase for 28 months, under the bed in a boarding house in Paris, until, with the sole wish of restituting the piece to Italy, he decided, ingenuously, to go to Florence to sell the painting for a few dollars.
During that time, Giovanni Poggi was the director of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence and it was he who came across the stolen Gioconda, even though it seemed that its tracks had been lost. It was he who noted that it was not one of the many replicas that were circulating during that epic, but rather the real original. He found Peruggia and convinced him to restitute the painting. The mystery was concluded when, on December 11th, 1913, the painting was given to Giovanni Poggi at a hotel in Florence, at the time called Hotel Tripoli, in room n.20 where the thief Peruggia was staying with the hidden painting. It was right after this "historical" meeting that the hotel changed its name to the "Hotel La Gioconda".
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