Neighbourhoods: the artsy, up and coming Navigli area in Milan
Neighbourhood Guides

Neighbourhoods: the artsy, up and coming Navigli area in Milan

Aspasia Loi | 6 September 2018
Navigli, Milan
Best time to go:
Ideal trip duration:
3 hours

Milan, a city of art and style has many different neighbourhoods all unique in character. Navigli is an area made of canals dating back to the 12th century. Many claim that Leonardo Da Vinci was commissioned to help in the canals restoration on the 15th century. Today, the Milan canals are vibrant with a hip feeling.


Navigli is the best area to go if you want to have aperitivo, eat great sea food, try unique cocktails and enjoy a calm scene. It is a great place to end your night with great options for food and entertainment. The milanese people usually say: “you haven’t really experienced the true beauty of Milan without visiting the Navigli canals.”

If you are an art lover, you should definitely visit the galleries in the area which feature both world famous artists but also young promising talents. During April when there is the Salone del Mobile, the most famous interior design exhibition, the area of Navigli is transformed into a walking art gallery with many installations present in the canals. The last Sunday of every month Navigli becomes a flea market with antiques and old paintings, a favourite for most Milanese.


Good food is easy to find in the canals. They are famous for their seafood but they also have many different restaurants to try local and international cuisine. Among the locals favourite is a brazilian sushi restaurant – Temakinho. Its specialty is the temaki; a cone made of seaweed and filled with rice and fish topping. Temakinho has an exotic flair with many rolls containing fruits, tasty cocktails with passionfruit and a brazilian atmosphere with fun music.

Darsena, the connecting port between the two canals, is a small waterway that has remained in Milan since the ancient times. It was recently renovated to include many docks that milanese people are using either for a stroll after work or to relax with a glass of wine watching the sunset over the Navigli bridges. The Mercato Communale is a food market on the Darsena that you can visit to buy fresh food either to taste there or to take with you home.


  • Darsena – the connection port of the canals, a new and hip area to relax after work
  • Mercato communale – a food market where you can buy local products
  • Miradori arte contemporanea – an art gallery with modern art which features mostly young talents


  • Temakinho – a brazilian sushi restaurant with a vibrant atmosphere
  • Officina 12 – a traditional osteria with great pasta and pizza famous for their cotolette
  • Luca e Andrea – famous for their risotto Milanese
  • I Pesciolini – great seafood place with a tartare to die for
  • California bakery – one of the most famous brunch places in Milan. You can’t book but it is definitely worth a visit
  • Trattoria da Mauro – traditional Bolognese trattoria with great pasta! Read full review here
  • Vintage shops along the ripa di porta ticinese – thrift stores that have hidden gemsDrink
    • O2 Gin bar – amazing gin selection and wonderful atmosphere in the summer months in the garden
    • Mag – a uniquely designed bar with great music
    • The Winery 1 Aaron Brussolo – traditional wine experience in milan where you can sit in the old wine barrels and buy wine to take with you
    • Ugo – very nice bar that takes its name from its specialty a drink with elderflower
    • The Yard – very nice hotel which has a small yard, ideal for a glass of wine
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