Christo fans told rain may prevent walking on water

Christo fans told rain may prevent walking on water

Rome (AFP) - Fans of renowned artist Christo faced disappointment for a second day Sunday after his latest work in northern Italy was partly closed by rain.

His ambitious three kilometre-long (1.9 miles) walkway of 200,000 floating cubes covered in orange fabric floating atop Lake Iseo was evacuated Saturday evening after wind and rain made it unstable.

"Given the influx of people and potentially bad weather, it is advisable to rethink your trip," said a manager at the installation in a statement.

Local authorities have also cancelled train services to the lake to limit the numbers able to reach the project.

After being closed throughout Saturday night, the project only partly reopened Sunday morning with one of the two walkways still closed to the public.

Crowds of visitors hoping to visit Christo's "The Floating Piers" have been gathering around the lake since it opened on Saturday, with organisers hoping that 500,000 people will experience it by July 3 when the pontoons close to the public.

But the walkways can only hold 11,000 people at any one time -- and only if weather conditions allow.

More than 55,000 visitors attempted to cross the walkways on Saturday, forcing organisers who had anticipated just 40,000 to ask that they return another day.

And by the early evening the bridges had been forced to close by heavy winds and driving rain.

Christo first conceived the project in 1970 for the River Plate delta in Argentina but was thwarted after failing to secure the necessary permits.

Despite the long delay in realising his vision Christo said on Thursday that the project, his first since 2005, "stayed in our hearts".