Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Understanding Milan (02): Why HERE?

When it's torrid and horribly humid in the summer and freezing and horribly humid in the winter, I often ask myself, exasperated at the city's ancient founders, why HERE? According to legend, it's all the fault of a furry sow (more later), but, really folks, why HERE?...More...

The answer was less arcane than I feared: waterways, the ancient world's highways.

Within the embrace of a semi-circle of mountains, Milan is in the middle of an alluvial plain, the flat area scraped away thousands and thousands and thousands of years ago by the retreating glaciers. Alluvial because it's criss-crossed with overground rivers (good for moving people and goods around) and underground flows (good for agriculture) of water.

Much much later, these natural waterways were given a helping hand, and Milan became a watery city of canals, called Navigli. Really, it was. And they were crucial for the city's urban, economic, social and demographic growth. But that's fodder for future posts.

Keeping true to my desire to post only my own photos (and avoid copyright problems), here's a link to a panoramic view of Milan's erstwhile waterways:

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