Canals were very important for communication in medieval Bologna. A principal artery was the Reno channel which divides into two branches: the Cavaticcio and the Canale delle Moline. Just outside the 14th century walls, it joins the Aposa river which flows beneath the centre of the city and with it flows into the Navile canal near the sostegno della Bova.
Canale delle Moline was built in 1100 as a defensive moat for the secondary walls and was provided with private washing areas, used by the washerwomen to carry out their work without getting wet, and 15 mills making use of the water flow.
Closed between buildings for a good part of its route, Canale delle Moline has been hidden from view. Looking onto it is the picturesque finestrella (little window) on via Piella in a secondary small street parallel to via Indipendenza, also known as “little Venice”, which was reopened in 1998. The overlooks from the bridges of via Oberdan and via Malcontenti were also recently reopened.