The Navigli canals are a magical place, where time seems to have stopped! Treat yourself to a guided stroll to discover one of the most fascinating stories of Milan and have fun in the most sparkling district of the city.
Discover the inextricable link between the capital of Lombardy and water, a link which dates back to the 12th century, with the construction of the ship canal. The first canal, the Ticinello, was inaugurated in 1179, giving way to the realization of the Naviglio Grande. Then came the Naviglio della Martesana. In total, 90 kilometers of canals were built, which were made navigable by the presence of 25 sluices. At the end of the 15th century, the project was completed by the innovative system of sluices designed by Leonardo da Vinci. In 1805 Napoleon completed the construction of the Naviglio Pavese, realizing the dreams of the Milanese citizens: reaching the sea through the Naviglio Pavese and the Po, the Lake Maggiore through the Naviglio Grande and the Ticino, and the Lake Como through the Naviglio della Martesana and the Adda. With the invention of cars, long stretches of these canals were covered, but there is an ongoing project for a partial reopening.
Today the canals of Milan are full of bars, restaurants, and old noble residences overlooking the water. The tour will start from the Basilica of St. Eustorgio, a 4th-century Christian church where you will visit the Ark of the Magi, a large sarcophagus which, according to the legend, houses the relics of the three Magi, and Portinari Chapel. While walking along the new dock (completed in light of Expo2015) towards the Naviglio Pavese and the Naviglio Grande, your guide will provide you with explanations and anecdotes of the canal network, the contribution of Leonardo da Vinci, the commercial activities from the Middle Ages to the 19th century, the faces of yesterday and today of the Ticinese district, and its musical traditions and sports. You will visit one of the most picturesque and historical corners of Milan: Vicolo dei Lavandai (Alley of the laundress), which gets its name from an old wash house used by women to do the laundry. You'll learn all the washerwomen’s tricks of the job and visit the courtyard of a typical Milanese "banister house".