Milan was once famous for its Waterways.


Even though it is some distance from the sea, Milan has a secret past when it comes to boats

For many years you could sail through the city along the Navigli, a clever system of artificial canals that was once used for transporting goods and for irrigation.

But in the period before the second world war these important water arteries were covered over

Today you can still see the low houses from that period along the Naviglio Grande, and in Vicolo Lavandai you can see the old stone wash troughs.

Look carefully on what you might think might be a former river and notice the bridges that span it and the stone mooring bollards that still today line what would have been the towpath.

Continuing along the Naviglio towards the outskirts, we come to the Church of San Cristoforo al Naviglio; its 15th century bell tower was used by those sailing down the Ticino as a guide to understand if they were going in the right direction for Milan

The Navigli also includes Naviglio della Martesana (also known as Naviglio Piccolo), which has some lovely cycle paths.