If it is for „wrap-up“ artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude everybody can walk on water.
After wrapping Paris’ Pont Neuf and the Reichstag in Berlin, Christo’s latest project „The Floating Piers“ invites you to do exactly that: Cross Lake Iseo and reach two of its islands in a half an hour stroll. The first section takes you from Sulzano to the main island Monte Isola (that is: “Mount Island”) where you can refresh in one of the bars or restaurants. You can then continue toward San Paolo Island – your typical italian Villa surrounded by a small garden and defended against your curiosity by jealous walls. This second part of the experience is a circular path so you can chose to take an alternative route back to Monte Isola.
And that is about all there is to it. It’s a physical experience I am happy to have made; We were there monday afternoon in perfect weather (75°, no clouds, slight breeze) and if you already are in Venice, Verona, Turin or Milan come and „walk for yourself“ – if you can get there…
Sulzano (pop. >2000), a 150+ years old town approximately 50 miles from Milan. There’s literally one single road in, through and out. Even with this road barred for all private and commercial traffic, the sheer numbers of such a huge crowd are jamming the street and huge tourist liner buses transformed into a public transport system can hardly move. Even with every local adult able to wear a yellow fluorescent jacket lending a hand, but Sulzano being the only access point for all to enter the walk, it’s a miracle no visitor has been hurt. And visitors there have been: 80.000 alone in the first three days, the second of which was closed in the afternoon and visitors were swiftly evacuated when weather conditions abruptly plummeted.
It seems nobody would have expected such a run; technical supervisors are continuously monitoring the state of health of the just about 200,000 polyethylene cubes that form the solid but undulating walk and on Tuesday night access has been interrupted from 10 pm to 7am this morning for a “beauty make-over” on the covering orange fabric.
I guess there will (hopefully) be major changes to the channelling of the crowds through the site:
One could be to make reservation for your entry time obligatory, this way access could easily be limited to a sustainable number of visitors. As a second effort the duration of the project could be doubled – it’s just two weeks – and daily visitors could be reduced significantly.
I strongly urge everyone wanting to go, to contact the local tourist board for up-to-date information on how to get there and not spend the day in traffic jams, miles of queues for everything from coffee to toilets and train stations – it seems, today some 3000 visitors where held up and sent back directly at Brescia Railway Station. The official website has not been updated (not even the „News“ section) and is of little help.
There are many more pictures in “the Floating Piers” online gallery – clicking on one of the pictures in this post will take you there.