The Navigli are coming back!

The Navigli are coming back!

Navigli Milan private tours

It’s hard to believe that Milan has been considered for centuries a sort of ‘little Venice’. But, finally, the Navigli are coming back!


The Navigli district currently refers to a charming area covering a large part of the southwestern quadrant of Milan. Two artificial waterways bound the district, the “Naviglio Grande” and the “Naviglio Pavese”. In addition, a recently renovated city dock, the so called Darsena, is at the head.

Since this district is full of options, it’s one of the first destinations we recommend to visit, especially after the sun sets! This neighborhood, spotted with pop-up perfumeries and retro design stores, is very picturesque and trendy, looking like Venice or Amsterdam.

Chill around the canals and you can find lots of cafés, restaurants, bars, design shops and art galleries. Then, at night, the area gets very lively. Stop and have a typical Milanese aperitivo, the pre-dinner ritual of Aperol spritzers, salumi, and chat. Then choose your restaurant or pizzeria for a mouthwatering dinner. So, head to the next bar or club and enjoy your Milanese night-out!

This district is very picturesque! But until the 30s of the last century the Navigli where part of a much more extended system of artificial waterways. They crossed the whole city and surrounded the ancient walls of Milan. They were built along seven centuries, starting from late XII century to the early XIX. The main purpose was to bring water to the city from the Lakes and the nearby rivers. But especially to carry the  marble from Candoglia to the city centre in order to build the imposing Duomo.

Also Leonardo da Vinci enhanced the system of the canals through an overall re-engineering.

Finally, in the early XX century, the Milaneses covered the canals for healthy reasons but the current lively district.

Now the local government of the municipality of Milan and the government of the Lombard region are collaborating and thinking to re-open part of the canals in the city centre.


Crazy? Inopportune? Ambitious? Utopian? For sure it would be a dream come true for many of the Milaneses but a nightmare for someone else!

No doubt the Navigli district is one of the most attractive in Milan among the locals and the tourists. Bringing them back would also mean bringing back the true old Milan that nobody remembers any more. That amazing city that we can just admire in black and white photos or romantique paintings…

While waiting for their re-opening, you can enjoy a nice stroll along the canals and if you want to know stories and anecdotes Contact Us and reserve your private tour! Stay tuned!

Church of S. Cristoforo Navigli Milan guided tours

Navigli, church of S. Cristoforo

Navigli Milan guiged tours

Naviglio Grande

Milan Navigli private tours

Map of the Navigli, 1860

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