When we talk about Milano's Navigli district we refer to the Darsena area, the port of Milano near Piazza XXIV Maggio and the streets along the Naviglio Grande that once linked Milano 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 Milano'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 Milano'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 Milano, 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
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.