It starts from Melchiorre Gioia, more or less at the beginning of the Greco district, not far from the Central Station and the Maggiolina district.
And it leads to a small ancient world halfway between countryside and city, between aquatic birds and luxuriant nature. Let's talk about the Martesana, an ancient Milanese canal, part of the great Navigli project.
Brief history of the Naviglio Martesana
No longer navigable, except for short stretches, the Martesana Canal originates from the right bank of the Adda river, in Trezzo, reaching Milan in a water route whose origin dates back to the mid-1400s, with a golden age in 1500, when boats loaded with goods passed continuously along the canal.
There is also the hand of Leonardo da Vinci, who conceived ingenious locks with the aim of connecting the Martesana to the inner circle of the Navigli.
Today the charm of a flat track which can be traveled on foot and by bicycle remains, alongside the watercourse, among urban gardens, houses in the Old Milan style, and gradually more and more luxuriant vegetation. From urban traffic to the quiet of the neighboring villages it really takes a moment: seeing is believing.
Stops and unmissable places of the Naviglio Martesana
Summer trip out of town following the Martesana? Good idea! The entrance to the Naviglio is preceded by a delightful little place overlooking Melchiorre Gioia.
It's called the Buttiga Beer Room Martesana and with the summer it becomes the evening stop a fixture of the whole neighbourhood, among delicious chopping boards, mugs of cold beer and good music.
By bicycle, on foot or on skates, you can easily go from the city of Milan to Groppello, also because the road network has recently been taken over, eliminating the most dangerous intersections.
If you want you can continue to Trezzo and along the Naviglio di Paderno on a dirt track to get to Lecco (yes!).
In Cassano the protected area of the Adda Nord park begins, immersing yourself in the greenery and discovering the aquatic fauna, from green frogs to swans, from mallards to the gray heron.
In fact, traveling the Naviglio Martesana is equivalent to exploring the entire province north-east of Milan, passing through the various extra-urban municipalities, from Cologno Monzese to the Adda river. Here, suddenly, you enter another dimension, breathing an air of perfect stillness.
Only advice: arm yourself with anti-mosquito spray, a bottle of fresh water and a hat, especially if you intend to take your trip to the Martesana in the sunny hours.
Ah, and if returning to the city you want to reward yourself for the kilometers you covered, make a stop at the historic Mykonos Greek Tavern: in Martesana, near viale Monza, it unites holiday atmosphere with excellent Mediterranean recipes.