Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa was mostly painted in Florence, Italy, between 1503 and 1506. However, the landscape behind the subject is imaginary, probably based on regions in the Italian Montefeltro region.
Mona Lisa was Lisa Gherardini, the young wife of a merchant, Francesco Giocondo. Instead of turning it over to the merchant who commissioned it, da Vinci took it to France for unknown reasons. He never considered the painting to be finished, and art historian Carmen C. Bambach believes da Vinci continued making small changes and touch-ups to the work until about 1517.
In Italian, "giocondo" means "happy" or "joyous." The Mona Lisa is often called "La Gioconda" as a play on words involving Mona Lisa's married name and the famous smile of her painting.