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  • Writer's pictureEmilia Romagna Tour Guide

Looking for "Mariola" in Ravenna, have you ever heard about this?

Let's find out togheter the reasons of this idiom in use in the city of Ravenna

photo credit Instagram @brunolekli

In the Civic Tower of the Municipality of Ravenna, in via Ponte Marino, a statue with a face now completely eroded by time and the bas-relief of a knight, who has his back to the statue, have been walled up since time immemorial. Popular tradition has called that faceless figure "Maria" or "Mariola" and since the Middle Ages this scene has inspired a saying that has spread throughout Europe (cited by Boccaccio, Cecco d’Ascoli and others ...)

What does it means?

"Searching Mariola" or Maria, or as written by Miguel de Cervantes in Don Quixote, "Buscar a Marica por Ravena" can have different meanings, from not seeing something in front of your eyes or going around wasting time , launching into a useless undertaking.

The man on horseback comes from a Roman sarcophagus while the veiled head has been the subject of a careful restoration which has made it possible to discover that it is not a female face, but a man, perhaps an emperor.

Despite this, the legend of Mariola continues.

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