This piece of Milan is always beautiful. On the last Sunday of each month, the most adorable antique market in Italy (Mercatone dell’Antiquariato) took place along the embankment of the Grand Canal Navigli. The dams around the Navigli canals are the place to look for lively nightlife. Cafes, restaurants, and shops are open until late at night. Let us take a short walk around.
Navigli Quarter is primarily a street food. There are many bars and small eateries, but the most popular one in Navigli is eating right on the go. Sicilian food, like everything in Sicily, is very traditional and keeps the old family foundations. What you should try is Arancini - “little oranges.” These are fried rice balls, usually stuffed with meat, sometimes with mozzarella, tomato sauce, and green peas. The name of the dish is due to its shape and color, which gives arancini similarity with small oranges. If you want to try something sweet, be sure to try the small casatinas. Sicilian cassata is a round sponge cake dipped in fruit juice or liqueur, as well as layers of ricotta, candied fruits, and chocolate or vanilla filler. A hemisphere-shaped сassatа covered with white glaze with one candied cherry in the center is called Cassata St. Agatha and is produced during the St. Agatha festival.
In the Middle Ages, Milan was full of canals and reminded Venice. To facilitate trade and go to the coast, the Milanese created a network of canals connecting them to the nearest river Ticino. The oldest channel was dug in the 12th century. Today this part of the city is called Navigli from the Italian "navli", which means "canals".
Navigli opens its doors from early morning until late evening. In the evenings it is fun, noisy and tasty. Every last Sunday of the month Navigli becomes the largest and most colorful market. Artists exhibit their work, junk dealers sell funny things, exhibit antiques.
The construction of canals was considered a matter of extraordinary importance. Even Leonardo Davinchi presented a carefully designed project with many drawings. They used water of canals for drinking. They delivered cargo through waterways, they washed in canals, dumped slops and drains - and as a result, they were infected with various kinds of epidemics. The channels were necessary for the transportation of marble for the construction of the symbol of Milan - the Duomo cathedral.
This bridge is named for the road that goes to Corsico. Corsico is a small town near Milan, which was founded in 1200 on the path of the Naviglio Grande canal, the construction of which began around 1259.
On the opposite side of the channel stands the church of the Holy Virgin Mary. Its shape and architecture will never allow one to think that it was built just a little more than 100 years ago. Italians are well versed in architecture and honor building traditions. A small church stood at this place as far back as the 16th century. It was destroyed, burned and rebuilt until the present church was erected in appearance of a resembling historical and architectural relic.
At the beginning of the 20th century, gravel and sand buried most of the Milan canals. Only the Grand Canal and the Pavi Canal remained from the old hydraulic system. Through the Grand Canal, the water enters the Darsen reservoir, and through the Pavia Canal, it leaves in the direction of Pavia. Its length is about 35 km.
Artificial canals gave the city plenty of water, and there were public laundries here. Washing was a matter of importance, and only men were doing it. For this reason, the word "laundress" in Italian is masculine. Today, there are no more laundry rooms, but this is an odd and very charming historical spot of the city.