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April 20, 2011

The "happy hour" ritual

One of the coolest places in Milan is the Navigli District. The Navigli are Milan's waterways. Built in 1100 they were in use until about 1930 when some of them started being covered up and replaced with roads. They served commercial and trade purposes, connecting Milan with the main rivers and lakes in the north of Italy. For example, the Candoglia marble used for the Duomo was transported from the quarries near the Lake Maggiore to the construction site via the Navigli.

Today just two Navigli have surveived and they are populated with bars and pubs, one after the other and you're spoiled for choice. This area comes alive in the late afternoon, evening when the Milanese meet there for the 'happy hour' ritual. 'Happy hour' is basically a deal offered by all the bars in the area: between 6pm and 9pm all drinks (beer, wine, cocktails etc.) are offered at the same price, usually between £5 and £8, and there's a finger buffet available and you can eat 'as much as you like'.

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