High walls of Arena Civica

©Stephanie Ong/Lonely Planet

The arena was Napoleon’s mini-colosseum, which he opened in flamboyant style with a chariot race in 1807. Built by Luigi Canonica, its design allowed it to be flooded with water from nearby canals in order to stage mock sea battles. Now it hosts mainly community sports matches and the occasional music concert, along with the finishing leg of the Stramilano marathon, which takes place at the end of March.