Naviglio is one of the most charming and artistic districts of Milan. More and more artists are opening their studios here and painting, modelling and creating installations on the spot. This neighbourhood is perfect for rummaging for art, bric-a-brac and unique items from the old days. There’s no better place to buy original souvenirs and works of art for a lasting memento of your visit to Naviglio.
Most artists originally set up their studios in the Brera district. However, now that this neighbourhood is slowly being transformed into an expensive yuppie area, the antique dealers and artists are making their way to Naviglio. And all with good reason, since those looking for inspiration and romance will find plenty of it here. Take a stroll along the old network of waterways (‘navigli’) or visit one of the area’s numerous restaurants and second-hand shops with old books, jewellery and furniture. And don’t forget to take a peek into one of the picturesque enclosed gardens.
Naviglio has the kind of shops that always have something worth looking at, either because the items on display are simply beautiful or because they have sentimental value. Il Bazar del Naviglio Grande is one such shop. The owner collects old furniture and wonderful pre-World War II toys. In the shop, you’ll find an old pinball machine from the early 19th century alongside teddy bears, old board games and Milanese dolls from the 40s and 50s. The shop is a bit cluttered but that’s also part of its charm.
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“The artist Matteo Laganà is fond of depicting sunny Milan in various shades of yellow”
The artist Matteo Laganà loves Naviglio and this is clear from his work. In a small, cosy studio with a traditional beamed ceiling, the artist paints his favourite scenes. Laganà does not create realistic paintings but portrays his own romantic image of the city. The prices for the paintings depend on the size of the work of art. A small hand-made keepsake from the most charming district of Milan can be had for as little as 25 euros.
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With nearly 400 market vendors and traders and a 2-kilometre long strip of stands, stands and more stands, the monthly antique market along the Naviglio canal is one of the largest in Milan. Here you’ll find not only antiques but also lots of curiosities. You can easily spend half a day rummaging around for furniture, clocks, porcelain, dolls, books and more. Keep in mind that the antique market is popular with both tourists and locals alike and can get very crowded.
Alzaia naviglio grande & Ripa di Porto Ticinese