'Walkers on water' overwhelm Italian lake installation

Fri Jun 24, 2016 1:31pm EDT
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By Stefano Rellandini

SULZANO, Italy (Reuters) - A yellow fabric walkway floating on Lake Iseo in northern Italy has attracted twice as many visitors as expected and has been forced to close at night for essential repairs and cleaning.

Last Saturday, Bulgarian-born artist Christo opened "The Floating Piers", a 3 km (two mile)-long walkway from Sulzano on the mainland to the Monte Isola and San Paolo islands, usually accessible only by boat.

Authorities in the area 100 km (60 miles) northeast of Milan had expected around 40,000 visitors a day and to keep the walkway open around the clock. But after 97,000 came on Wednesday alone, they decided to close it between midnight and 0400 GMT.

Made of some 220,000 high-density polyethylene cubes covered with shimmering yellow fabric, the piers have suffered more wear and tear than expected.

The linked cubes are anchored to the bed of the lake, forming a 16 meter-wide, 35 centimeter-high surface designed to move gently with the waves.

Admission is free. Volunteers are on hand in case anyone falls into the water. The installation closes on July 3.

(Writing by Isla Binnie; editing by Andrew Roche)

People walk on the installation 'The Floating Piers' by Bulgarian-born artist Christo Vladimirov Yavachev, known as Christo, on the Lake Iseo, northern Italy, June 24, 2016. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini