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As the Darsena reopens, Milan rediscovers the charm of its waterways

One of Milan’s most beloved and beautiful historical places has been revived: the Darsena, the canal port closed since 1979, when the last boat left its load of sand on the dock of Porta Ticinese. Sunday, April 26, after 18 months of work, the new Darsena was inaugurated in front of about 50,000 people.

The redevelopment, which is part of the initiatives for Expo Milano 2015 opening May 1, cost nearly €20 million and includes a new pedestrian area of 75,000 square meters and a new market. The area is now navigable again. But the most important novelty is represented by the reopening of a small section of the Ticinello canal that had been buried in the 1930s.

Milan has historically a love-hate relationship with its canal network. Canals used to be the backbone of the city, but starting in the 1930s the city began to bury them to make room for roads.

The Naviglio Grande, 50 km long, takes its water from the river Ticino and reaches Milan at Porta Ticinese at the newly-refurbished Darsena.