Navigli Overview
Navigli is a beautiful citadel located in the South Western part of Milan in Lombardy, Italy. The place is a charming tourist centre because of its channel of canals and also happens to be the primary hub of nightlife in Milan. The Navigli (literally means "canals") consists of five interconnected systems of waterways which are: Naviglio Grande, Naviglio Pavese, Naviglio Martesana or Piccolo, Naviglio di Paderno and Naviglio di Bereguardo.

The construction of the first of these canals had begun in the early twelfth century for the purpose of irrigation and navigation, and it took more than seven centuries to construct the entire network. Today the quartiere of Navigli, encompassed by these canals, is a popular tourist spot due to the presence of amazing cafes, restaurants, art galleries, boutique shops which make, 'a walk through this district' one to remember forever.

Of these five canals, the first two are more popular with tourists. There are options to cruise along the Naviglio Grande and Pavese. Also, some of the best restaurants in Milan are along these two canals. Cycle rides on the tracks that run along them is as pleasant as walking through the promenade around.

Navigli is known not only for its beautiful scenery but also for its food and culture. Tourists from all over the world who visit Milan, make it a point to see Navigli, just for this reason. The place is a colourful burst of energy in the fresh flowing tranquility of the canals.

Whether one wants to taste the best wines, or dance to Italian music, bite into the creamiest cheese for aperitivo or take a romantic stroll along the canals, Navigli has a plethora of attractions for the tourists who drop by.

How To Reach

- The Malpensa International Airport is 41 kms and the Milano Linate Airport is about 11 kms only from Navigli.  

There is a direct train from the Malpensa airport to Milano Cadorna every half an hour. The journey takes about 40 mins and costs € 14. From Cadorna, the Line 2 metro takes only about four minutes to reach P. Ta Genova and costs 2€. The P. Ta Genova Metro station is just five minutes walking distance from Navigli. 

There are also buses running between the Malpensa Airport to P. Ta Genova but the journey takes about two hours with one change required at the Central Station (Stazione Centrale) and it costs between 7€ to 12€. 

Taxi is the fastest means of transport between the two places taking only 40 minutes of time but could cost close to 100€.

- From the Linate Airport

15 minutes by taxi which could cost around 40€. 

The bus number 73 from the Airport takes about an hour to reach Missori which is 20 minutes by foot from Navigli. If one does not wish to walk for 20 mins, one can get down from the bus at p. za Cinque Giornate and board tram line 9. The tram takes another 20-25 mins to reach Vigevano v.le Gorizia which is about 800 metres from Navigli. The bus journey costs between 1-2€ and the tram takes another 2€.

Best Time To Visit

April to June is a good span of time to visit Navigli given the weather conditions. The temperature around this time does not go beyond 23 degrees or fall below 10 degrees. July and August are the hottest months and September is when the place is extremely crowded. It is however essential to pack an ombrello as there could be chances of slight drizzle during these months. 

Once in Navigli, it is a sin to miss the sunset by the naviglios. In order to watch the golden sun, set in the waters of the canal, it's important to reach Navigli before dusk. The bistros and bars along the canal come alive around this time. Navigli is famous among all quartiers of Milan for having the best nightlife.

Other Essential Information


Although Navigli is the name given to the system of five canals in Milan, the district refers to the triangular area enclosed by Naviglio Pavese and Naviglio Grande. These two canals originate from River Ticino and join at the head called Darsena which is at the South Western part of Milan. 

Opening hours:
The place is open throughout the day and is abuzz especially at night after sunset on all days of the week. Most of the restaurants and bars here remain open till 3 am. 

Distance from nearest Airport:
The nearest airport to Navigli is Milan Linate Airport which is only about 11 kms. But Linate Airport services domestic passengers or passengers from nearby European cities only. The main international airport of Milan is the Malpensa Airport which is 41 kms from Navigli.

History of Navigli

The commissioning of the first canal that is the Navigio Grand began in the twelfth century. The reason for the construction of this complex waterway of approximately 90 kilometres was primarily to transport goods and crops to Milan from other parts of Italy and Europe. Those were times when roadways weren't fast enough and took a lot of travel time. 

However, these canals hold a very important place in the history of time. The great Cathedral of Milan or Duomo de Milano which is the largest church in Italy and the fifth largest in the world, couldn't have been built without these canals.

The exquisitely crafted Duomo used the precious marble from a place called Candoglia in Italy which is 105 kilometers north-west of Milan. The canals were used to transport these heavy stone blocks without much difficulty or time. However they stopped being used as transport routes after the arrival of railways and swifter roadways.

Famous Eateries in Navigli

One cannot be in Navigli and go back without having a bite in one of its most famous eateries which vie for attention along the colourful walk beside the Naviglio Grande and Pavese. The authentic Italian cuisines and aperitivo-s are hard to pass without getting a mouthful and heartful of them.

It is very difficult to choose one from the other, yet depending on the kind of food one wants to eat, one can step into a restaurant that's known best for its kind. 

1. Fabbrica Pizzeria
This Italian pizza joint is open all days of the week for lunch between 12 to 3 PM and again for dinner from 7 PM till 1 in the night. Not only are their pizzas delicious, but also their calzones and stuffed focaccia breads are amazing. Their pomodoro (tomato) sauce together with fresh mozzarella heightens the experience for the gastronomes. 

2. La Gelateria Della Musica
It would be a shame to leave Italy without tasting a gelato. The best place to stop for one is at the La Gelateria Della Musica whose music with ice cream is indeed inviting. There is a lot to choose from but their Rhum and Amaretti coffee ice cream is to die for. They also have some Mediterranean seasonal fruit varieties of gelato-s for those who are lactose intolerant. 

3. Antica Marmeria di Mirko
This restaurant is situated at the Porta Ticinese and is known for its meat specialities. The atmosphere is pretty romantic in the eatery with candles, brick walls and tables for two. One must try the chargrilled meat varieties with caramelised onions for an awesome experience.

Navigli’s Best Bars

The Navigli's glam quotient goes up with the clinking of numerous bars in the area after dusk.

1. Backdoor 43
There is no leaving the Navigli without getting into the world's smallest bar which can house no more than five people including the masked bartender. It feels like this bar is a little piece of magical realism fiction.

Although not yet listed in the Guinness Book of World Records, this bar has just as much as 43 sq ft of area (hence the name) on the inside which allows as much privacy required for a close "rendezvous" with friends. 

2. Rita and Cocktails
This grand bar at the Navigli is just beside the Antica Marmeria di Mirko. Authentic Italian vino (wines) and beers can be grabbed here with the tastiest nibbles. The best part of Rita is that they use only freshly made natural ingredients for their cocktails.

The culmination of unusual flavours in the cocktails make them magical. The prices in Rita and Cocktails may be slightly higher than the other bars around, but the drinks are worth the price. 

3. Morgante Cocktail and Soul
This aesthetic bar is situated at the Vicolo Lavandai and is isolated from the bustle along the waterway. The antique wooden door of the bar opens into a quiet world of freshness, adorned with flowers and greenery.

The bar was started and is run by a famous architect named Morgante, and it is no great wonder why it looks so classy and picturesque. Those who love live music and mint flavoured gins must definitely visit this one.
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Navigli FAQs

Where is the navigli district in Milan?

Navigli is situated at the South Western part of Milan in Lombardy, Italy. It comprises the triangular block of land between the Naviglio Grande and Naviglio Pavese which converge at the Porta Ticinese dock.

How do I get to Navigli?

Once in Milan, Italy, it is very easy to reach the Navigli by public or private transport. There are a number of buses that ply between Milan city centre to the Navigli. The tram lines 2,3 and 9 connect with Navigli at the Vigevano v.le Gorizia and it takes 800 metres of walking to get to the heart of the neighborhood. For those who are new to Milan, the easiest and hassle free way to reach Navigli would be to take the metro to Porta Genova which is just five minutes by foot from the Darsena. A cab from Milan would take about 30 minutes to reach Navigli and would cost close to 30€.

Are there canals in Milan, Italy?

Milan has five active canals that interconnect the Ticino River, River Adda, Lake Como and Lake Maggiore. This system of canals in Milan is called naviglio and the district which houses the meeting point of three of these canals, is known as the Navigli. The Naviglio Grande, Naviglio Pavese, Naviglio Martesana or Piccolo, Naviglio di Paderno and Naviglio di Bereguardo are the five canals which are there in Milan. The canals were built for military defense, irrigation and navigation but currently they are mainly used for irrigation.

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