Wrapped Fountain and Wrapped Medieval Tower

Spoleto, 1968


In July 1968, in conjunction with the Festival of Two Worlds, Christo and Jeanne-Claude almost wrapped the Spoleto opera house, the three-story-high Teatro Nuovo, an eighteenth-century building that is one of the principal attractions of the small mountaintop town in Central Italy. Due to fire laws, Christo and Jeanne-Claude were prevented from realizing the project.

While Christo was working in Switzerland, creating the Wrapped Kunsthalle in Bern, Jeanne-Claude was invited to look around the town of Spoleto and, instead of the opera house, after consulting Christo on the telephone, she chose to wrap a medieval tower and a baroque fountain at the market place.

The tall square tower, standing like a shrouded sentinel at one end of a medieval causeway, was one of the first landmarks on the road winding into Spoleto, providing an eerie indication of the curious blend of old and new cultures at the Festival of Two Worlds.

In the main piazza in the center of town, the Wrapped Fountain struck a festive note, with the white woven polypropylene fabric and rope extending over the entire side of a four-story building, the silhouette of which resembled a baroque church façade. The cloth shimmered like white satin in the sunlight and became tremulous in the slightest whisper of a breeze.

Both wrappings remained up for three weeks, the duration of the festival.

Because of the simultaneous timing of the two projects in Italy and Switzerland, Christo never saw the Wrapped Medieval Tower and the Wrapped Fountain in Spoleto, while Jeanne-Claude never saw the Wrapped Kunsthalle in Bern. That same summer, together, they completed the 5,600 Cubicmeter Package in Kassel, Germany.