There’s a very famous saying in Ravenna that goes: ‘Maria si va cercando per Ravenna…’ or ‘Cercando Mariola per Ravenna’ (in English it would be ‘Searching Maria across Ravenna’).
I believe you haven’t ever heard of it. But you should know that this saying was born in Ravenna and then spread. Even in the Don Quixote by Cervantes we meet a tired Sancho Panza saying:
Y màs que asì serà buscar a Dulcinea por el Toboso como a Marica per Ravena o al Bachiller en Salamanca!
Historical literary sources mention it since 1300. This saying originated from two marble fragments that are still on the walls of the City Tower, built between the 11th and 12th centuries in the heart of the city, in Via Ponte Marino.
The two fragments are what is left of a Roman bass relief (3rd century AD) and they display a knight and a ruined figure at his side (maybe a woman?), of which is recognizable just the engraved face.
The interpretation has always been controversial. At first sight, you would say that the horsed knight is looking for his lost beloved, which, ironically, is standing right in front of him.
This is the story of how the saying was born: with a knight perpetually seeking for something he has right under his nose.