Idroscalo is an artificial lake belonging to the city of Milan, situated nearby Milano-Linate Airport, between the municipalities of Segrate and Peschiera Borromeo; the lake is 2,5 km long (8.200 ft), has a maximum width of 450 m (1476 ft) and its depth ranges from 3 m (10 ft) and 5 m (16 ft). The lake was commissioned by Mussolini and designed by Gino Utili, and the works started in 1928, on an area where there was a gravel pit, and lasted only three years.
The water of the Idroscalo comes from a phreatic aquifer and flows into the Lambro river, through a canal. It was originally constructed as a seaplane airport, but it was soon turned into a leisure and sporting place; a large tribune, which is still used, was erected on the westerly side of the lake. It gradually became one of the favourite meeting places of Milanese during the summer, and it was nicknamed “the sea of Milan”.
Nowadays swimming in the lake is forbidden and the lake is used for aquatic sports such as rowing and speedboat racings. Around the Idroscalo there are some of the most famous summer nightclubs of Milan, such as Magnolia, Papaya, Central Park and Le Jardin au Bord du Lac, an elegant restaurant that also hosts music festivals and cultural events. During the summer, the ForestLab is open every Sunday: it is a small greenhouse with tropical butterflies, giant millipedes, stick insects, piranhas and other interesting animals coming from all over the world.