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Milan: Leonardo da Vinci’s Basin

A canal system that criss-crossed Milan designed by Leonardo

The Porte Vinciane (Da Vinci’s Gates) are one of Da Vinci’s places in Milan:

a canal system that criss-crossed Milan, designed by Leonardo himself, which was very important for communication and trade in the past.

Today, Da Vinci’s gates represent a symbol for Milan, to demonstrate how much the city owes to the water and how the Navigli could be used for business, trade and leisure even nowadays.


Watch the full web serie Milan & Leonardo da Vinci

Cover pic courtesy of Flickr user Alessandro (obliot)

Visit Turismo Milano official website


Video full text: Leonardo da Vinci’s Basin

This is one of Da Vinci’s places: these are the Porte Vinciane (da Vinci’s Gates).
This is the Incoronata Basin,
named after the parish here.
These bulkheads were designed by Leonardo da Vinci.
A drawing explaining these locks can be found in the Ambrosiana Library.
Da Vinci’s design is dated 1496,
a time when the canals that criss-crossed Milan
were important for communication and trade.
The system of bulkheads allowed boats to ascend and descend from one level to the next.
These wooden gates, preserved since that time, still remain.
There is still a lot of the original ironwork,
but beyond their restoration and their physical retrieval,
Da Vinci’s gates today have a particular significance for Milan:
this could be a refuse collection point, something it actually has been,
instead it is a very important symbol for Milan,
specifically restored on the occasion of Expo,
to demonstrate how much Milan owes to the passage of water.
And to try and create an awareness of just how much the Navigli could be used for business, trade and for leisure at weekends.
The Naviglio is represented by this type of work,
that just so happens to bear Leonardo da Vinci’s signature.
But to tell the story I’ve had to make my way into a part that cannot be accessed.
I’m back on the right side now!

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