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The Navigli District
When we talk about Milan's Navigli district we refer to the Darsena area, the port of Milan near Piazza XXIV Maggio and the streets along the Naviglio Grande that once linked Milan to Switzerland, plus, the Naviglio Pavese, which linked the city to Pavia.
Nowadays, this area is undergoing substantial renovation and is considered one of the most charming residential areas of the city. The refurbished characteristic ringhiera buildings (with railings) are much admired and reminiscent of Milan's historical past. The neighborhood is always buzzing: by day it is the location for many markets (on the last Sunday of each month the important antiques market is held there), art galleries and craft shops, at night it is illuminated by the lights of masses of bars and restaurants making it one of the most lively and attractive districts of the city.
In fact Milan's Navigli canals were set up as a waterway system used to transport people and goods for irrigation. With the introduction of trams and trains as a means of transport during the twentieth century they were almost completely covered over.
This aspect of the history of Milan, however, comes to mind when wandering around the Navigli district, in the romantic Vicolo dei Lavandai and on the ancient bridges of the Naviglio Grande.
Vicolo dei lavandai
The antique market on the last Sunday of every month
Le Scimmie: legendary live music location
The marble for the construction of the Duomo, which came from the Candoglia quarry, was transported along the Naviglio Grande from the river Toce and Lake Maggiore.
On June 12th and 13th, 2011 a definitive residents referendum questioned the Milanese on the future of the canals. The city dwellers are romantically linked to the history and traditions of these canals: "Would you like the City of Milan to proceed with the reconstruction of the Darsena as the city's port and ecological area and then proceed gradually to the hydraulic reactivation and the landscaping of the Milanese canal system based on a specific and feasible project?" The city’s reply was: yes!
It can be reached by M2 (green line), Porta Genova stop.