If you love cycling or simply you enjoy long walks, there are hidden treasures to find along one of the Navigli of Milan, which is Naviglio Martesana.
The construction of Naviglio Martesana was started by Francesco Sforza in 1475 and completed by Ludovico il Moro in 1496 .
During spring and summer, you may find there many Milanese having fun with their bycicles, running or just taking a stroll. During the weekend the Naviglio Martesana is quite crowded: if you want to relax, go there during the week.
The Martesana starts near Cassina de Pomm in Milan and ends at Trezzo sull’Adda, near a huge park called “Parco Adda Nord”.
It offers many places to visit. I have selected some very particular ones, which you’ll surely find on the way. It’s more or less 30 km long, so if you do not feel like cycicling, I recommend getting to the destinations by car or using the metro 🙂
1) Parco Adda Nord
One of the most beautiful areas of Naviglio Martesana is certainly the Adda North Park.
It has an area of 5650 hectares and inside of it you’ll find Leonardo Da Vinci’s eco-museum.
It includes 18 “open-air sites” such as the Leonardo ferry, the San Michele Iron Bridge, the Rocchetta Sanctuary, the Esterle Centrale, the Visconteo Castle and the Crespi d’Adda.
There are many itineraries for cycling enthusiasts.
During spring and summer, it’s a must-do experience: give yourself an afternoon of peace immersed in nature!
2) Crespi d’adda
Crespi d’Adda is a village that became part of the UNESCO in 1995.
It was a working village built by the Crespi family, who were cotton-makers entrepeneurs who had built this village to facilitate their employees.
In this village they built for their workers houses and villas with gardens, a school, a church and a recreation building.
In these village there’s also a famous cemetery that during winter is filled with fog and has a very Gothic atmosphere.
The Crespi family provided everything their employees needed. It is possible to visit the village both individually and in groups. For more information, visit the website.
3) Groppello’s “Big wheel”
Near the bridge of Groppello, on the road that crosses Naviglio Martesana, you will find a particular old “big hydraulic wheel”, also called “Rudun” in dialect.
It has a diameter of 11 meters and was built by Carlo Borromeo in 1618 to allow the irrigation of the gardens of the archbishopric villa.
What you see is not the original one, because unfortunately it’s been ruined by time, but it is still a fascinating site to see.
Nearby there is a Neogotic style bridge and the ancient wash basins, as well as the archbishop’s villa.
4) The Covered Bridge in Gorgonzola
In the village of Gorgonzola, you’ll find another curious site to visit. It is a covered bridge that looks like a small wooden house, a special place for those who want to visit particular places.
It’s at the intersection between via Alzaia Martesana and vicolo Filippo Corridoni.
I’ve discovered it by chance during a bike ride. In this area before there were many landings and washing areas.
What was this bridge for? It is said that it was built for private use by local feudal lords so they could reach their private dock…. 🙂
5) Villa Aitelli in Inzago
At Inzago, always on the shore of Naviglio, we can see the villa Aitelli.
It belonged to the Congregation of the Humiliated and after the dissolution of the Order, San Carlo Borromeo gave it, together with a copy of the Sindone, to his secretary Ludovico Moenta.
The villa has an octagonal shape and looks like a church with a bell tower… Who wants to take a look? 😉
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Enjoy your trip! 🙂