Navigli, Milan
The “Navigli” formed until the 19th century the city’s port district. Work on the Naviglio Grande started in 1177. A sequence of locks allowed boats to travel along the canals on different levels. Lodovico il Moro with Leonardo da Vinci improved this network in the 15th century. Thanks to the Navigli canals, in 1953 landlocked Milan was ranked the 13th port in Italy. Today, the area around the Navigli, is one of liveliest of Milan: here you’ll find many interesting shops, restaurants and markets. During the day the area around the Navigli is peaceful, with a village atmosphere.


Vicolo dei Lavandai
Vicolo dei Lavandai, Milan
The Naviglio Grande and the Naviglio Pavese get together at the Darsena, a harbour which was built 1603 to simplify the trade with the city of Milan. Along the Darsena take place nowadays a flea market on Saturday. Walking towards the dockyard (the Darsena) there is a good view of the pretty Vicolo dei Lavandai (Washers' Alley) from the opposite side of the canal. In the past women would wash their clothes in the pool fed by the Naviglio Grande.


Porta Ticinese
Porta Ticinese, Milan
The Gate at the beginning of the Navigli area is called “Porta Ticinese”. This gate once was located on the roman road that led to Pavia from Milan. Only a part of the neo-classical plan by Luigi Cagnola is visible today. His ideas included bastions - since demolished - and the square in the direction of the village of San Gottardo between vast buildings that were to house the local market and receiving office. These buildings were to lie on either side of the gateway and symmetrical to the road, thereby redefining the entire area. The project was begun in 1801 to celebrate the victory of Napoleon at the battle of Marengo in 1800 and the arrival of the French troops from that direction, but construction was halted in 1814 after only the gate and the two toll-gates at the sides had been finished.