Have you ever thought of Milan as a city of water?
When Daisy first visited Milan in 1889 with her mother and older sister Endemial, the city was surrounded by its 5 working canals.
"Bianca made arrangements for our first night supper in Il Centro and suggested we walk along the canals. Milan was a city of tranquil waterways at this time, with barges navigating the picturesque canal-banks. Naviglio means canal in Italian and navigli is the plural and name for the artificial canals of Milan. They were started during Roman times and by the end of the 13th century, water was seen as a way to transport people and objects, like the marble for the Cathedral. Leonardo da Vinci started working on these projects in 1482. This amelioration started the development of a new system of canals that would have made it possible to travel by canal from the Valtellina wine valley in the far North at the border of Switzerland to Milan, had the work been completed. I was lucky to see the City with its waterways intact, as by the 1920’s rail and motor travel saw many of them covered by streets and buildings with just remnants remaining and few signs that Milan had ever been surrounded by water."
Read more about Leonardo daVinci's canal designs, why they disappeared and how a growing movement is afoot to uncover them.
Today we have the Chunnel making London to Paris travel direct and dependable. But in the early 1900's, the distance, currents and trains all created a difficult journey. Just how difficult? Read this first-hand account.
"The comparatively short journey (modern editors note: 7 - 10 hours) between one and the other of the great European capitals is one which has demanded almost all the resources of modern science to overcome the natural drawbacks attending its peculiar features. Paris is, by rough calculation, about 260 miles from London which distance must be covered by the voyager in three stages.
Some stories that couldn't make the book in full ... but need to be told! Editors welcomed - sign up below.