This canal is the first and largest canal in Europe. It connected Milan with Maggiore Lake and Switzerland, so people could transport various kinds of goods. The whole thing was dug up only using shovels and pickaxes and some of the sections took over 50 years to finish.
Water transport on this canal had two peaks - around 1830 and during WW2, since the railways and roads were bombed, water was the only way of transporting goods mostly intact. Nowadays, the canal is used for irrigation, although it is still navigable.
It's a beautiful spot for a romantic evening walk, with plenty of places to have dinner or a few drinks. The surroundings of Naviglio Grande get pretty busy and crowded during the weekends because it's a popular area for friendly hangouts and dates. There is a market with antique items every last Sunday of the month. The canal is beautifully lit up during Christmas time, so if you're around, definitely pay a visit and immerse yourself in the atmosphere.