Abbiategrasso, Lombardy, Italy

This ancient town, about 20 km from Milan, is included in the Natural Park of the Ticino River, and is an important agricultural center producing mainly rice and maize.

Its wide territory - its the second largest commune in the province after Milan - includes a network of navigable canals, the so-called Navigli, originally excavated to connect the river with the city of Milan.

What to see

History - Antiquity

The area was inhabited still before Roman times, as can be derived from archaeological findings of the 6th century BC with small hamlets as Ozzero founded by the Celtic populations of Lombardy. The Roman occupation that lasted from the 1st century BC to the 5th century AD left a great number of traces along the Via Mercatorum that connected the villages east of the Ticino. These settlements were called cascinae, and numerous findings show that the local economy was very lively, mostly based on the production of cereals, wine and oil.

History - the Middle Ages

After the fall of the Roman Empire the area came under the Lombards, who established their center around the church of San Pietro; later on the town was under the rule of the Archbishop of Milan, who ordered a castle to be built near Santa Maria Vecchia. This early castle was destroyed by Frederick Barbarossa in 1162.

The early borough was surrounded by walls with 4 gates - San Pietro to the north, Milano to the East, San Martino to the south and the Porta Nuova to the west. In 1176 the canal called Navigium (present-day Naviglio Grande) was begun, and when finished this masterly engineering project connected Milan, the Ticino and Lake Maggiore.

province of Milano

History - Modern times

In the following century the town was under the Visconti (1277-1450), then the Sforza (1450-1535), the Spaniards (1535-1707) - a period well described in Manzoni's "The Betrothed" and finally the Austrians (1707-1859). In the later 19th century the Industrial revolution started to change this part of Italy, and soon the population grew and new districts were built outside the medieval walls.


Altitude: 120 m a.s.l -- Population: ca. 30,000 inhabitants -- Zip/postal code: 20081 -- Phone Area Code: 02 -- Patron Saint: Santa Rosa da Lima celebrated on 23 August -- Frazioni & Località: Baraggetta, Bellotta, Canova di Sopra, Case Rurali, Cavallotta, Cittadina, Mendosio, Meraviglia, Nuova Bassano, San Donato, Scocca
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