The Darsena basin, a junction point in Milan's vast river and canal system, extends between Viale Gabriele D'Annunzio and Viale Gorizia. The Olona River (now covered) and the Naviglio Grande flow into it; the Naviglio Pavese and the Ticinello flow out of it. The basin was opened by the Spanish governor, Conte di Fuentes, in 1603 as a landing for barges and boats.
The Darsena connects the external canals with the network of city canals, in their day favouring the development of commerce and crafts. Just a few metres from the city's former port, it's worth visiting the “Vicolo dei Lavandai” (Washerwoman's Lane), with its old stone washtubs covered by rustic wooden roofs.