I love Navigli and its canal or canals in the making. We passed excavation of the old canal before reaching the flower market which happened to take place the week we visited. We discovered a few good restaurants along the canal and would go back from time to time to sample them slowly.
A charming area whose eclectic mix of people, cafes, clubs, art, antique shops, outdoor markets and character take me back to the Lower East side of the 60's - when artists, writers and musicians moved in mass from Grenwich Village streets they could no longer afford. When I left Milan there was great rennovation in progress on the Navigli canal and we enjoyed watching the previously stagnant water gushing through canal gates. Navigli was inaugurated in 1179 but the intricate system was devised by Leonardo Da Vinci toward the end of the 1400's. Navigli was used to transport marble for the Duomo from the Ticino to the center of Milan at the end of the 14th century. The Milan Wharf, an important commercial port for river transport for many centuries, was operating until the Second World War ended and closed in 1979.
This was the neighborhood of the "washer women" and today you see the old, typical "casa di Ringhiera." The website I reference has the best description and photos I've found of Navigli.
This area, Porta Ticinece, is very romantic and special.
I recommend to go there if you have time, and you have already visited the must to see monuments, if you are a poet, an artist, an photographer, …
It is quiet peacefull and you can find good restaurants,
Happily next time I will be there at a friends house and then I will write better tips about Il Naviglio.
I recommend this book (see picture):
Milano. Il fascino dei Navigli
with pictures of Angelo Cremonesi
(Selecta, Milano, 2002)
Porte Ticinese are part of the remains of the circle of walls put up in 1711. These gates were restored in 1861. Like most of Milan the ancient and the modern exist side by side.
In Milan there are some incredible places. This one is near the Naviglio Grande channel.