HAVE you always wanted to walk on water?
A new installation by renowned artist Christo Vladimirov Javacheff opened in northern Italy last Saturday, giving tourists that exact opportunity.
He has created a 3km long runway consisting of 200,000 floating cubes that connects the village of Sulzano to the small island of Monte Isola on Lake Iseo.
“It’s a very physical project, you need to go there (to understand it),” Christo said Thursday of the project called “The Floating Piers” which is open to the public until July 3.
“The Floating Piers” cost $22 million to create and it was initially planned to be open day and night, but a high amount of foot traffic resulting in wear and tear has forced the installation’s closure at night.
Several of the first visitors to experience Christo’s brainchild removed their shoes to better appreciate the “physical project” that was first conceived in 1970 but has taken until now to come to fruition.
Others sunbathed on the pontoons while braver souls dived head first into Iseo’s dark green water.
“It’s like being on a boat, it sways, it’s fun,” Agata, 12, told Italian media. Her family had driven overnight from Bergamo to arrive at the installation in time for dawn.
The number of visitors reached a peak after lunch with a long queue snaking toward the project’s entrance.
A number of those queuing were taken ill as they waited under the hot sun. Christo himself advised his fans to visit another day and ordered that shuttle buses to nearby car parks should make fewer trips.
“It’s a great feeling, I am very satisfied with the result which is the product of co-operation between all the organisations that have guaranteed the safety of all of those wanting to walk on the water,” said Lombardy regional president Roberto Maroni.
Around 150 people were posted on the walkway to ensure safety wile 30 lifeguards were on hand in the event of an accident.
The large numbers of visitors were also proving challenging for local authorities who have to keep the area clean, he said.
The numbers of people who have come to walk on the free installation have far exceeded organisers’ expectations, who estimated around 500,000 would come over 16 days.
Christo is famed for works on a massive scale, including wrapping the Berlin Reichstag in fabric in 1995.