Thousands of people stepped out onto the latest work by renowned artist Christo Vladimirov Javacheff in northern Italy Saturday, seizing their chance to “walk on water”.
The most eager among fans of Christo, as he is universally known, spent the night camped to be the first to step onto a walkway of 200,000 floating cubes covered in orange fabric floating atop Lake Iseo.
They create a three kilometre (1.9 mile)-long runway that connects the village of Sulzano to the small island of Monte Isola on the lake.
“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 from June 18 to July 3.
“The Floating Piers” cost 15 million euros ($16.7 million) to create but will be free to the public and is expected to attract 500,000 visitors by the time it closes.
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.
“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.
Christo first rose to fame along with his late wife Jeanne-Claude for their eye-catching packaging of famous landmarks like the Pont Neuf across the Seine in Paris in 1985 and Berlin’s Reichstag in 1995 — a project which took almost a quarter of a century of bureaucratic wrangling to get off the ground.