A banner promoting the "Battle of Angiari" project is seen before a news conference in Florence
A banner promoting the "Battle of Angiari" project, a search for the lost Leonardo da Vinci fresco, is seen before a news conference in Florence 12 March. Art researchers and scientists said on Monday that a high-tech project using tiny video probes has uncovered evidence that a fresco by Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci lost for five centuries may still exist behind a wall of Florence's city hall.

Scientists announced on Monday that they believe they have found evidence to the hiding place of Leonardo Da Vinci's lost painting in a palace in Florence, Italy.

Researchers led by scientist Maurizio Seracini, using tiny probes, revealed that Da Vinci's Battle of Anghiari painting lost for five centuries could possibly be hidden behind the frescoed wall of Giorgio Vasari's The Battle of Marcian in Palazzo Vecchio's city hall, reported the Associated Press.

Maurizio Seracini, professor at the University of California, said an analysis of the painting through the tiny probes showed red, black and beige paint that are consistently found in other Leonardo's paintings.

"These data are very encouraging. Although we are still in the preliminary stages of the research and there is still a lot of work to be done to solve this mystery, the evidence does suggest that we are searching in the right place," the Associated Press quoted Seracini as telling reporters.

He said more research needed to be done to unlock the art mystery.

Leonardo Da Vinci was asked to paint a massive fresco in 1505 celebrating the Florentine Republic's victory over Milan in the battle of Anghiari that happened in 1440 .

But Da Vinci never finished it because the painting did not come the way he had expected due to some issues with colours.

It is believed that Giorgio Vasari's, an admirer of Da Vinci, built a wall in front of the fresco before remodelling the walls in Palazzo Vecchio. He then painted his own work, The Battle of Marciano, on the new wall in 1563, an AFP report said.

Seracini also found a clue in Giogio Vasari's painting, where a soldier holding a banner has an inscription written that read "Cerca Trova", which means "Seek and You Shall Find."

Many art historians and international art scholars have criticised Seracini's finding, saying that it is a mere publicity stunt. They signed a petition against the research as the team had to bore six holes in Vasari's panting to insert the tiny probe risking damage to Vasari's fresco.