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Cerchia dei Navigli

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Attractions Details

📌 Address

Cerchia dei Navigli, Milano MI, Italy

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

Find it on google maps

0.00/5 - (0 Votes)
expert
Ngurah
Local tour guide
"To truly experience the vibrant atmosphere of the Milan Navigli District, visit during the last Sunday of the month when the Navigli Antique Market takes over; you'll find unique items and get a sense of local culture. Also, for a quieter, more locals-only vibe, stroll the canals early in the morning when the cafes are just opening and the area is less crowded."

What is Milan Navigli District?

The Milan Navigli District is an enchanting and vibrant area known for its interconnecting canals, which were historically used for transportation and irrigation. Today, the district has transformed into a popular hub for locals and visitors alike, searching for a blend of history, culture, and lively nightlife.

Tucked away from Milan's bustling centre, the Navigli offers picturesque scenes with antique bridges arching over the waterways and charming buildings lining the canal sides. It's a place where the historic meets the contemporary, offering a unique atmosphere that captivates everyone who wanders through its cobbled streets. It’s the sort of intimate knowledge you might miss if you didn’t know where to look.

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History of Milan Navigli District

The history of the Navigli goes back several centuries, with the canals being a testament to the ingenuity of medieval engineering. The system was initially designed by Leonardo da Vinci and others to connect Milan to the surrounding lakes and rivers for transportation of goods. Up until the 19th century, these waterways played a crucial role in connecting the city with other regions of Northern Italy and the rest of Europe.

The Naviglio Grande, the district's main canal, was built as early as the 12th century, while the Naviglio Pavese, its sibling, was completed in the 16th century. Over the years, the significance of the canals waned, but the area never lost its charm. In the 20th century, much of the canal system was covered up due to urban development. Yet, the Navigli District retained its two main canals, maintaining a connection to its storied past.

Nowadays, it’s a treasured part of the city's heritage, with remnants of its past still visible amidst the modern eateries and boutiques that abound. Have you ever heard the tale about the hidden wine windows that were used during the plague? Allegedly, some of these "buchette del vino" are still there if you know where to look.

Why is Milan Navigli District Important?

The Milan Navigli District is important for both its historical significance and its role in the modern cultural fabric of Milan. It stands as a living museum, offering a unique glimpse into Milanese history and its evolution from a medieval commune to today's cosmopolitan city. Moreover, the district is revered for preserving and celebrating the canal system which is emblematic of Milan's past economic prosperity.

For Milanese residents, the Navigli represents a communal heart where art, tradition, and daily life intersect. This is evidenced by the vibrant art scene, with numerous studios and galleries, and the bustling markets where locals shop for antiques or fresh produce. The Navigli also serves as an important recreational space, with the serene canals providing a scenic backdrop for joggers, cyclists, and amblers.

Important, too, is the district's role in sustaining Milan's reputation as a fashion and design capital. The blend of vintage charm with contemporary trends creates a lively atmosphere that attracts designers and fashionistas from around the world. Some even say that the most unique designs are inspired right by the canalside, away from the prying eyes of the mainstream.

Things to Do & See at Milan Navigli District

There’s no shortage of activities in the Navigli District. You can start with a leisurely stroll along the canals, admiring the artistry of the pastel-colored buildings and historic bridges. If you're intrigued by history, some hidden courtyards date back centuries and are usually open for a quick peek. Trust me, inside these courtyards, time stands still.

For those who appreciate art, the galleries that are sprinkled throughout the district showcase everything from classic Milanese paintings to avant-garde installations. You might even stumble upon an artist creating their next masterpiece right by the water's edge. The famous Vicolo dei Lavandai, an alley where washermen once scrubbed clothes in the canal water, is now a charming relic where the past is palpable.

Come evening, the Navigli transforms into a vibrant nightlife destination. The restaurants and bars come alive, offering some of the finest Italian cuisines and apéritifs. Make sure not to miss the traditional Milanese aperitivo, which is an experience like no other. And have you heard about the little-known artisanal chocolate shops tucked away in the side streets? They offer delectable treats that you simply won't find elsewhere.

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Frequently asked questions

What is the Milan Navigli District?

The Milan Navigli District is a historic and picturesque neighborhood in Milan, known for its system of canals designed in part by Leonardo da Vinci, which were once used for transportation and irrigation. Today, it's a vibrant area filled with restaurants, bars, art galleries, and boutiques.

What are the main attractions in the Milan Navigli District?

Main attractions in the Milan Navigli District include the Naviglio Grande and Naviglio Pavese canals, the Darsena (the old dock of Milan), and the Vicolo dei Lavandai, an alley where women traditionally washed clothes. The area is also famous for its nightlife and the monthly antique market.

How can I explore the Milan Navigli District?

The Milan Navigli District can be explored on foot, by bike, or via guided tours. Visitors can also enjoy boat tours on the canals to experience the district from the water. The district has many paths alongside the canals, perfect for a scenic walk.

What is the best time to visit the Milan Navigli District?

The best time to visit the Milan Navigli District is during the spring and summer when the weather is pleasant, and the canal-side terraces are bustling with activity. Evenings are particularly lively as locals and tourists alike flock to the area for its vibrant nightlife.

Are there any special events held in the Milan Navigli District?

Yes, the Milan Navigli District hosts several events throughout the year. One of the most popular is the Navigli Antique Market, held on the last Sunday of each month. Other events include various festivals, outdoor exhibitions, and special celebrations such as the Festa di San Cristoforo, the patron saint of the district.

Attractions Details

📌 Address

Cerchia dei Navigli, Milano MI, Italy

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

Find it on google maps