Milan’s Hidden Watermark. The City, its Region and Water | The Plan
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Milan’s Hidden Watermark. The City, its Region and Water

Milan has a schizophrenic relationship with water. On the one hand, its three large rivers - the Lambro, the Seveso and the Olona - coursing north-south beyond the city limits have not impacted the city’s development down the centuries. Neither the perfectly symmetrical hub-and-spoke layout nor the architecture that grew out of the ruins of the ancient Roman city had to accommodate the rivers in the plains. These watercourses underpinned, however, the thriving economies of the outlying areas: the Olona was essential for the rise of the industrial hub of Legnano while the Lambro permitted the flourishing agriculture around Lodi.
Yet despite Milan’s apparent “water amnesia”, water has had a fundamental role within Milan as well, visible even today in the present-day layout of the city. But it was not natural watercourses that shaped the urban fabric, rather...

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