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The darsena: Milan’s waterfront

The darsena is the heart of the navigli district in Milan. The word darsena literally translates into dock or shipyard and since the beginning of the 17th century this has been the role of this little harbour in the South West side of Milan. It constitutes the outlet of the navigli, the artficial canals that cross the entire city.

The whole history of the navigli deals with the construction of the majestic Duomo cathedral. The flatboats carrying the white marbles employed for the cathedral’s construction, used to navigate these narrow canals from the north of the Lombardy region to the city centre. When the cathedral was completed, the canals became a preferential way for the transportation of goods throughout the city of Milan.

In 1603 Pedro Enríquez de Acevedo count of Fuentes (1525-1610), the Spanish governor of the city of Milan, decided to build a river basin in what is now called Piazza XXIV Maggio. The shape of the darsena has not changed since then.

Nowadays the darsena, after a huge renovation that took place in 2014, is at the centre of the milanese vibrant nightlife. The navigli district has always been popular for its restaurants, pubs and bars and with the opening of the new darsena the whole area has acquired a brand new popularity.

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Taking a walk along the darsena while having a gelato or drinking an aperitivo nearby the water is for sure a not ot be missed experience when in Milan.

The darsena also features a market where to buy groceries of the Italian food tradition as well as those belonging to to other cultures.

If you wish to go to there just catch the green line of the underground services and get off at Porta Genova station, then walk along via Vigevano and there it is…Milan’s stunning waterfront.







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