In 2004 the Ardea Purpurea, a monumental mosaic fountain designed and created by master mosaicist Marco Bravura of Ravenna, was placed in Piazza della Resistenza. The 12-metre high structure recalls the shape of DNA, with two wings rising up, twisted and parallel, covered with tesserae that contribute, thanks to sunrays and the fountain’s water spouts, to create a fascinating play of colours, lights and refractions.
The iconography is highly symbolic and inspired by ancient oriental languages: on a gold background, the tiles form characters from the Phoenician alphabet, symbols of Judaism, words in Sanskrit, Aramaic, Greek and ancient Japanese. Ardea Purpurea is also one of the names given to the Arabian phoenix, from whose ashes life rises again. A metaphor that also applies to the mosaic, based on the disintegration and recomposition of matter.
In this work, emptiness also finds meaning: the space between the two wings suggesting a figure of 8, the symbol of infinity. And from the middle of the emptiness rises a jet of water, reminding us that without it there can be no life.
Even the materials used, as you go upwards, become more precious, abstract and light, as a symbol of immortality.
The overall project is actually made up of two fountains: the first, smaller one, had already been made in 1999 by Marco Bravura in Beirut, Lebanon, as a symbol of the rebirth of the city from the ruins of war, to which the second part was added only later, in 2004, with the placement of the fountain here in Ravenna.