My experience in Milan was speedy and dirty; I had a several-hour layover in the city that I spent wandering around outside the train station. I literally had pesto between my toes, a pigeon that ate some bad Chinese pooped all over me, I witnessed one of the drunk men lounging on the overgrown grass outside the station break a bottle over another drunk guy’s head, and I paid 3 Euro ($6) for a can of juice. Needless to say, I felt I had little incentive to return, when there are so many other wonderful places in Italy, until I read this article about Milan’s magnificent canals.
I might have extended my layover if I’d known that Milan has a series of canals that stretches three times longer than Venice’s famous waterways. Emanuele Errico, chairman of Lombardy canals, maintains that “this density of canals joining a great city to the surrounding countryside is an example that is almost unique in the world.”
Regional leaders are hoping to refurbish the centuries-old system that made landlocked Milan a top Mediterranean port. Around 70 percent of the canals, which were once overseen by Leonardo Da Vinci, need to be rebuilt. Whether or not they are, I’ve now got a reason to visit Milan.
Thanks to Astilly on Flickr for the photo of a canal in Milan’s Navigli District.