The Villoresi Canal is fed by the River Ticino in Diga del Pan Perduto, in the municipality of Somma Lombardo. It runs almost exclusively through the province of Milan for 86 kilometres and joins the River Adda in the municipality of Cassano d’Adda.
Construction work was started in 1881, based on a plan designed by Eugenio Villoresi, and finished in just under ten years. It was conceived as an irrigation project, following the farming crisis connected to the production of silk. The canal now distributes water across an approximately 85,000-hectare plain by way of a 3,000 kilometre long network of canals.
Although some parts are slightly damaged, the Villoresi towpaths are completely accessible by bike and cross a highly urbanised area. The canal is proof of a thousand-year old rural history, whilst the present-day landscape is mainly made up of houses, roads and industrial warehouses. Every now and then a great green window of countryside and woodland opens, the latter being found within the Roccolo and Groane Parks.