The Naviglio di Bereguardo provides another enjoyable route for meandering into the Lombard countryside areas steeped in history and characterized by the vast rice, wheat and corn fields with glimpses of large secluded farmhouses. Cycling along the towpath you can enjoy the pleasant silence, far away from the urban traffic and smog.
Less frequented than the Naviglio Grande route, but no less pleasant, it has numerous waterfalls and stone bridges. It has a drop of 24.7 m which is mostly dealt with by 12 locks, still currently in working order. The asphalted and level path is, therefore, suitable for everyone, even for families with small children. From 1420 to 1470, the Duke of Milan, Filippo Maria Visconti, constructed the Naviglio di Bereguardo route with the purpose of connecting Milan with the River Po and with the sea, thus, enabling goods transport from the Republic of Venice and the East to Milan. However, subsequent to the construction of the Naviglio Pavese in the nineteenth century, it suffered a rapid decline and became a canal intended solely for irrigation purposes. Starting from the centre of Abbiategrasso, cycle south-east for about 500m until you cross the bridge over the canal. The cycle path commences immediately to the right but, if you want to see the actual beginning of the Naviglio, turn left and retreat a few hundred metres to where the canal separates from the Naviglio Grande. The route continues alongside the town of Motta Visconti until it reaches Bereguardo, in the province of Pavia. The town is situated the confluence of the Naviglio with the River Ticino, which can be crossed via the picturesque pontoon bridge, the final destination of our itinerary. The picturesque Bereguardo bridge is one of the last remaining pontoon constructions in Italy. Intended as a temporary measure, it was built at the end of the 19th century with wooden boats; it survived both of the World Wars but the original boats were replaced. This type of bridge follows the flow of the river so when the water level rises, the boats also rise.
NOT TO BE MISSED
After riding circa 6 km from Abbiategrasso, you can opt to momentarily leave the cycle path to visit the Abbey of Morimondo. A group of Cistercian monks from the mother house of Morimond, France founded the abbey on October 4th, 1134. The Cistercians toiled incessantly to reclaim this once marshy land and transformed it into one of the most fertile areas of the Milanese plain. They created a dense network of canals which, in the first half of the fifteenth century, was perfected with the construction of the Naviglio di Bereguardo. The interior of the edifice, with the cloister, the monastery and the carved wooden choir, can be visited but we suggest you consult the official website for times and all info.