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June 11, 2012 / landscapeiskingston

“To understand a city one must search for its deepest and most authentic identity……”

Milan: The Navigli Canal Network – Peter Sproule

In order to know and understand a city one must search for its deepest and most authentic identity. In Milan’s case, it is a profound relationship with the most essential of natural elements, water. Water was one of the most characteristic resources of both Lombardy and the Milan area, the very symbol of the city’s social and economic development.

The navigli was a system of navigable and interconnected canals around Milan constructed between 1179 and the 16th century. In the second half of the Nineteenth Century the system of transportation by river fell into a decay and the urban section of the Naviglio Martesana was covered over at the beginning of the 1930s, together with the entire Inner Ring, leading to the death of the north-eastern canals.

Commercial carrying continued on the Naviglio Grande, but the decline was steady and by the sixties it was over for good.  Today they are mostly derelict, unnavigable, or used for irrigation.”  Peter Sproule

Navigli Lombardi – one of 17 partners from 11 EU countries plus Norway and Serbia who are involved in The ‘Waterways Forward’ Interreg IVC project – plan future development of the Navigli system.  In response to the video….

Thank you Peter for this amazing video! For those who like the “navigli”, these images are pure energy for the heart!.

I would like to underline the efforts that nowadays my company ‘Navigli Lombardi’ is doing to make them alive again: this is necessary, above all for the youngest generation that ignore what the Navigli system meant for Milan along the centuries. 

We aim to:
• develop the cultural heritage, both tangible and intangible;
• promote tourism also by means of internal navigation /boat transport services;
• organise events involving the local communities in public-private partnerships;
• start up local development projects through public-private partnerships;
• create opportunities for free time, sport and wellness.

The cultural heritage of this ancient canal system is not in Milan only but along the territories for about 150Km: history & stories, traditions, ancient villas and farmhouses, mills & bridges and locks.

Furthermore … Leonardo da Vinci, Sforza and Visconti families, Maria Theresa of Austria, Napoleone … each of them contributed in building a part of this magnificent testimony of Lombard history.

Visit us next time you are in Milan!”  Claudio Repossi, Project Manager at Navigli Lombardi s.c.a.r.l.

If you are interested in further videos of the navigli in the past watch –  Milan: Now and Then 


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