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Green Milan: The Jellyfish Barge

A temporary glasshouse floating on the Navigli of Milan

Milan is closely linked to the water: since the digging of the first canals in the Middle Age, it was all about irrigation, agriculture and transporting from the countryside to the city using the Navigli (Milan’s canals).

This Jellyfish Barge is a temporary project: a floating glasshouse on plastic recycled drums that doesn’t consume any energy or water.

Let’s see how does it work…


Watch the full web serie: Green Milan Slow Tour

Visit Turismo Milano official website


Video full text: Jellyfish barge

An agricultural trip around Milan, a metropolis par excellence, is not a paradox.
The very name of Milan is tied to agriculture.
Mediolanum means in medio lanae, in the midst of the fleece of a half-woollen boar, a sort of cross between a pig and a sheep.
Milan was built along the line of the drinking troughs.
Milano da bere (Milan is the place for a drink)! But no, that was another slogan that had to do with aperitifs.
Milan is closely linked to the water.
In the 12th and 13th centuries Cistercian monks began the first land reclamation,
digging out the first canals.
Then, along came Leonardo da Vinci, and water became a science.
It was all about irrigation and about agriculture,
and all about transporting from the countryside to the city using the Navigli (Milan’s canals).
The Naviglio Grande and the Naviglio Pavese that arrive here at the dockyard.
The old commercial port, that today is still a centre for analyses
associated with the area, the agriculture, the future and the ecology.
Look at that strange thing over there.
No, it’s not aliens but a project!
When you come back here you may not find it anymore because it’s only temporary.
But this is very significant for a Milan that has been very sensitive to these issues,
both during and after Expo.
They’ve named it the jellyfish barge, but it’s not under the water like the Medusa jellyfish.
It floats on plastic recycled drums
that keep an octagonal platform afloat.
The octagonal structure is modular and makes it possible to put together many in the future,
one attached to another.
It is a wooden structure and has a transparent polymer that looks like glass
that lets the light through. It has some photovoltaic panels on it
that provide the energy required for operating this floating glasshouse.
But the incredible thing is that this glasshouse doesn’t consume any energy or water,
because it recycles it and cleans it. If we were at sea it would desalinate it,
using a natural system. The water is heated and then passes into the desalinator,
a system that reproduces the natural system
of evaporation and condensation of the water. Look at that giant droplet!
It also produces 150 litres of clean water a day.
These are tiny plants that have their roots in the water.
This a project by the University of Florence.
In the year 2050 planet earth will have 10 billion inhabitants, it would seem,
and water will be a scarce commodity.
This project looks to the future,
but Milan’s agricultural legacy is firmly rooted in the past.


Visit Milan: helpful hints

Italian name: Milano


Milan has got three airports:

  1. Malpensa Airport is the largest international & intecontinental Airport in Northern Italy. 30 miles Northwest from the city centre. Connections:
    Train Malpensa Express: trains leaves every 30 minutes in each direction, connecting the Airport to Milan Grand Central Station or Cadorna Railway Station. Terminals 1 and 2. It takes 45 min, price: 14 €
    Shuttle Bus: Malpensa Shuttle and Malpensa Bus Express connect the airport to Milan Grand Central Railway Station and Milan’s Underground Network. Terminals 1 and 2. It takes 60/70 min, price: 8 €
  2. City Airport Linate is an international airport connecting Milan with main European cities, located just 4 miles from the city centre. Connections by shuttle: Atm Bus n. 73 from Milano Duomo M1 – M3 (Piazza Diaz, direction: San Babila), first ride at 5.35 am, last one at 00.35. Frequency: every 10 min, price 1,5 €
  3. Milan Bergamo Airport Orio al Serio is mainly low cost flights Airport, located 30 miles Northwest from Milan. Connections only by Shuttle: There are 4 different bus companies,  pricing changes from 5 up to 8 €


ATM is Milan public transport service both for bus, tram and subway. Single ticket costs 1.50€ for 90-min ride. Consider daily/weekly subscriptions. You can buy tickets also texting to 48444. Milan Subway is the longest in Italy, covering 95 km: Donwload and check the map.

Moving in town can be nice also by bike: Milan has got a powerfull bike sharing service providing both regular and e-bikes. Here is the experience of our Ambassador Kim Harding with BikeMi service and a useful video of our Ambassador Roxana explaining how does it work. Car Sharing is also good with many different companies to choose.

Try also the local urban railway train, called Passante Ferroviario, check the experience of our Ambassador Roxana Iacoban travelling by local train in town.

What to do in Milan

Milan is the Italian financial center and one of the European capitals of Fashion. Known for its nightlife as well.

Some tips on Italia Slow Tour: watch our web serie about Leonardo da Vinci’s places, climb on top of the Duomo, visit Prada Foundation, Museums and Art Galleries, taste some fine gelato and try the local Aperitivo and – not joking – enjoy a sailing trip (!!) or some time deep in the nature close to some actual farms and fields.

Where to sleep

Accomodations are quite expensive in Milan, fares rise up and hotels get full according to the rich event calendar of the city (see: Fashion Week, Salone del mobile, Big concerts, Theatre and Sport events, etc.). If you are not specifically interested in any of those, try to travel during other periods to save some money.

Italia Slow Tour recommends:

  • Hotel Cervo in Garibaldi District if you want to stay close to city centre and enjoy the nightlife
  • Hotel Concorde located on the Green Way Milan-Lecco to Lake Como, if you want to move around adn travel by bike

Shopping in Milan

The famous Fashion District involves the following streets/areas: Via Montenapoleone, via Manzoni, via della Spiga and Corso Venezia. The so called “Quadrilateral of Fashion”. Here you can find all kind of brands and shops. Easy to reach by Subway (stop at Montenapoleone station).

Don’t miss the Street Markets! Almost every day you can find one: best are the ones in Viale Papiniano (on Tuesday) and Via Fauchè (on Saturday). More on the official website of weekly street markets. If you are into sustainable local products, Milan has got 8 actual farms in town and a green Earth Market.

If you are interested in Outlet Shopping, in the outskirt of Milan you can find 4 different Fashion Outlets, in a radius of 62 miles. Here you can find everyday a lot of famous high quality Italian brands on sale, with prices cut off up to 50%. All the outlets are connected to the center of Milan by Shuttle Bus:

  1. Serravalle Designer Outlet – Shuttle departure from Milan Central Station or Cairoli square
  2. Fidenza Village Outlet Shopping – Shuttle departure from Piazza della Repubblica 5, at the corner with Turati st.
  3. Vicolungo The Style Outlets – Shuttle departure from Cairoli square
  4. Rodengo-Saiano Franciacorta Outlet Village – Shuttle departure from Cairoli square

Italia Slow Tour

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