The Navigli are two fresh-water canals that enter the city from the south and southwest: the Naviglio Grande and the Naviglio Pavese, which flow into the Darsena basin near the Porta Ticinese gate. From there Corso di Porta Ticinese take you to the Colonne di San Lorenzo, also reachable by tram or on walk from Via Torino and Duomo. Navigli and Colonne is where the Milanese go when they want to spend a night out, around the beautifully renovated Darsena, Milano’s ancient river port.
5 things to do
1. Enjoy a true Milanese aperitivo or make a selfie on a canal bridge at sunset, basking into the magical atmosphere of the lights and the water of the Navigli.
2. Join the youthful crowd at the Colonne, drinking and chatting by Roman columns in front of Emperor Constantine’s statue and the vast basilica of San Lorenzo: it only happens in Milano.
3. Visit the Tortona Design District beyond the Porta Genova train station (M2 P.ta Genova FS). Along Via Tortona and Via Savona, in an industrial landscape, there is a cool succession of designer ateliers, stylist showrooms, bar lounges, select diners and fashion hotels.
4. Visit MUDEC, the increasingly popular museum of world cultures. Then check out an event or a party, or just hook your laptop and sip a cup of tea at BASE, the city’s creative innovation space in Via Bergognone, in the former Ansaldo factory at the end of the Design District.
5. Grab a bike or a canoe and see how far into the Lombard countryside the Navigli canals can take you.