ChristoChristo, the artist known for his famous installations – “Wrapped Reichstag” in Berlin in 1995 and “The Gates” in New York City’s Central Park in 2005 – has now created his 23rd installation on the picturesque Lake Iseo in northern Italy.

Titled “The Floating Piers” and open to the public June 18 – July 3, an expected half a million visitors can walk on water via 220,000 floating poly-ethylene cubes. The installment is a nearly 2-mile undulating runway connecting the mainland with a pair of islands, one inhabited and towering above the lake. It’s normally only accessible by boat. (Audiences of 5 million and 2 million participated in Berlin and NYC.)

He chose Lake Iseo for its calm waters and simple shoreline against the majestic Alpine foothills that some believe may have inspired the background of Leonardo’s “Mona Lisa.”

Christo will wrap the cubes in deep yellow fabric that the artist promises will dramatically shift from nearly red to brilliant gold under the effects of light and humidity.

The open installation will have 150 volunteers, among them lifeguards, to be posted on the piers and on boats around the clock to ensure safety. Swimming is forbidden — but expected, despite the cold water temperatures. Entrance is free, with the entire cost of the 15 million euro ($17 million) project financed by the artist himself.

Christo’s projects are as much feats of engineering as they are works of art. He has brought in a team of athletes from his native Bulgaria to assemble the specially made, recently invented cubes and divers to anchor them to concrete slabs on the lake-floor, employing oil-rig-inspired two-week rotations. The 190 anchors were moved into place by air balloons.

Cool Mona Note:  Art can be breath taking but it can also be used as a distraction. I like art for both reasons. It somehow removes me from the daily worries and hurts, even if just 5 minutes, enough to catch my breath and look at ideas and color. Check out Cool Mona’s reviews on jelly bean art (featuring Mona Lisa, of course) and post-it note art on NYC high rises.