Tuesday, November 9, 6pm Eastern

Free online event sponsored by the National Organization of Italian-American Women


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In August 1939, Louvre curators carefully removed the Mona Lisa from the wall.

They packed the 500-year-old painted panel into a specially designed, velvet-lined case and then nailed it shut inside a wooden crate.

As the Nazis bore down on Paris, Louvre staff packed up and spirited away the Mona Lisa and some 3,600 other priceless works of art into the French countryside. It was the biggest museum evacuation in history and surely one of the most amazing adventures of World War II.

But the famous lady’s story began some five centuries earlier, when Leonardo da Vinci himself spirited her portrait away from Florence and its patron.

Join art historian and USA Today bestselling author Laura Morelli for an evening of art, adventure, and inspiration.

Register for this free event above. Check your email for the Zoom link.


Two women, separated by five hundred years, hide Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa—with unintended consequences.

From the USA Today bestselling author of The Night Portrait comes a stunning historical novel that will forever change the way you look at the Mona Lisa.

Florence, 1479: House servant Bellina Sardi’s future seems fixed when she accompanies her newly married mistress, Lisa Gherardini, to her home across the Arno. But when Lisa’s husband asks Master Leonardo da Vinci to paint a portrait of Lisa, Bellina finds herself tasked with hiding an impossible secret.

France, 1939: As the Nazis close in on Paris at the dawn of World War II, a young archivist helps the frantic Louvre staff spirit away the Mona Lisa and other priceless works of art to hiding places in the French countryside. But as the dangerous game of cat and mouse comes to a head, Anne realizes her own family may hold the secret to returning the Louvre’s collection to safety.


LAURA MORELLI holds a Ph.D. in art history from Yale University and is an award-winning, USA Today bestselling historical novelist.

Laura has taught college students in the United States and Europe. She is a longtime trusted guide in the world of cultural travel and authentic shopping, known for her Authentic Arts guidebook series that includes MADE IN ITALY and other guides. She has been a columnist for National Geographic Traveler and Italy Magazine, and has also developed lessons for TED-Ed.

As a historical novelist, Laura’s passion is bringing the stories of art history to life. Her debut novel, THE GONDOLA MAKER, was one of the first independently published novels to earn a starred review in Publishers Weekly; it went on to win an IPPY Award and Benjamin Franklin Award. THE PAINTER’S APPRENTICE was a finalist for the 2018 Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards grand prize, and was an Editor’s Choice in the Historical Novels Review. THE GIANT won an IndieBrag Medallion. THE NIGHT PORTRAIT was a USA Today and Publishers Weekly bestseller and book club pick at Costco, Target, Veranda, and Hudson News.