In 1996, on the occasion of the centenary of the birth of the great poet Eugenio Montale, six eminent international artists (Giosetta Fioroni, Concetto Pozzati, Bruno Ceccobelli, Ruggero Savinio, Emilio Tadini and Kalus Karl Mehrkens) designed the cartoons for the mosaics in Piazza Dora Markus in Marina di Ravenna, whose name clearly refers to Dora Markus (see focus), the famous poem by Montale.
The monument, created over the course of the following year by twelve young mosaic artists trained in the schools of Ravenna, consists of figurative panels – in which the sea is a recurring theme – and more abstract panels – with highly symbolic echoes of Montale’s lyric poetry.
The space, designed by architect Andrea Giacometti, is divided into two parts: on one side, on a granite floor, are some street games, such as the 4 corners and a chessboard; while on the opposite side, set on a porphyry backdrop, are the six mosaics depicting Montale’s verses in images.
Through the poet’s portrait of the woman after whom his work is named, Dora Markus, images convey to our senses all the fascination that Ravenna, and its port area in particular, has always exerted upon poets and travellers.
The poem, included in the first section of Le Occasioni, was created starting from the union of two different parts, written many years apart from each other.
The first one dates back to 1928 (or 1926), while the second one to 1939, just before the outbreak of World War II and the Nazi persecution.
The composition opens with a view of Porto Corsini, where Montale imagines he had been with the charming Dora, thus providing a description:
“It was where the wooden bridge / juts at Porto Corsini onto the high sea / and rare men, almost motionless, cast /or haul in their nets.
And here where an ancient life / is lined in a gentle / anxiety of Orient, / your words were as iridescent as the scales / of the dying mullet.