Built centuries ago to form an irrigation system that would connect Lombardy's lakes to its capital, today the Navigli have become a major tourist attraction emblematic of Milanese nightlife: one of the most characteristic spots, they should be a must on your list.
The Naviglio Grande crosses through such towns as Gaggiano and Trezzano, moving towards the Darsena (Dockyard) and passing through the city's emblematic sites, like the church of San Cristoforo sul Naviglio, once known as the lighthouse of Milan. Once you've arrived at the nightlife area, between antique shops, "in" restaurants, and the trendiest bars you'll catch a glimpse of the famous alleyway called Vicolo della Lavandaie: a piece of Milanese history that even today is immortalised in all kinds of photos.
The Naviglio Pavese passes through towns that are less characteristic, but are still of value, as some very old homes are hidden within them. The waterway passes through the Conca del Naviglio, the oldest lock in Milan and perhaps in Europe.
The Navigli can be toured by boat following the itinerary that was once used by the barges that supplied old Milan with all kinds of goods, from the marble of the Cathedral to rice from across the Po River. On the last Sunday of the month, the sprawling Antiques Market on the Naviglio Grande is held in the Ripa Ticinese and Alzaie area.