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March 8, 2021
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Walk on water at Italian lake ‘Floating Piers’ installation

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SULZANO, Italy (Reuters) – Ever fancied walking on water? Well now you can, thanks to Bulgarian-born artist Christo’s latest art installation providing a floating walkway at Italy’s Lake Iseo.

For just a few weeks, “The Floating Piers” will rest on the surface of the picturesque lake, 100 km (62 miles) northeast of Milan, with a 3-km walkway allowing visitors to set off from the mainland town of Sulzano to the islands of Monte Isola and San Paolo, usually accessed by boat.

Some 220,000 high-density polyethylene cubes have been attached together and anchored by divers for the project. Covering them are 100,000 square metres (1,076,391 square feet) of shimmering yellow fabric, which will also feature along 1.5 km of Sulzano streets.

The piers, some 16 metres (52 feet) wide and 35 centimetres (14 inches) high, will “undulate with the movement of the waves” as visitors make their way, according to the project’s website. 

They will be on display June 18-July 3, which the 81-year old artist said is all part of its beauty.

“The temporal character is also related to the dynamics of the project,” Christo told Reuters, speaking in English.

“The project is designed to a particular moment of a voyage of many years … The work of art is not the 14 days or 16 days. The work of art is … that journey to that 14, 16 days.”   

Works by Christo and his wife Jeanne-Claude, who died in 2009, have featured in various cities, such as “The Gates” in New York, where the artists put up 7,503 gates with saffron fabric panels in Central Park.

According to the project’s website, Christo and Jeanne-Claude came up with “The Floating Piers” concept in 1970 and Christo picked Lake Iseo as the location in 2014.

Access to “The Floating Piers” will be free and organisers say volunteers will be present in case anyone should fall into the water.

(Reporting by Reuters Television; Writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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