The legend of the Madonna di Rimini
Rustico was a shepherd devoted to the Madonna, who during his wanderings with his herd found a tree trunk in a forest in Covignano, in the hills of Rimini nowadays called the Monte di Mezzo, that resembled a human body in shape.
- We are in the Middle Ages, about 1280. He tried passionately to carve out a statue of the Madonna but did not succeed in giving her a face. Two angels eventually appear to the shepherd and complete the work. They also inform him that the Madonna herself wishes the statue to be brought to Rimini and put in a boat without oarsmen, then sent out to sea.
- Said and done. The boat is lost at sea but finally arrives in Venice on the banks of San Marziale where the statue performs several miracles before it is carried into a church and worshiped as the “Madonna del Battello” (Madonna from the boat).
- It is still in that church under the name of the "Madonna di Rimini" or "delle Grazie".
- In the forest in Covignano, a hermitage was built where the angels carved out the face of the Madonna, but by the end of the 1300s, there were also a church and a monastery.
- Today, this is the Sanctuary of the Madonna delle Grazie.