“If you get a chance, go see Montecasino. It is a beautiful shopping mall with cinemas, a casino and a theatre. You will feel like you stepped onto the streets of Italy!”
I have to say, I was skeptical when I heard this comment from a few different people. I have done pretty well staying away from the shopping scene since I do not have any additional space to put treasures. I have also been working hard to not spend money on things but rather on people and experiences so avoiding the temptation has been another reason to keep my distance. And lastly, we have shopping malls in America. Not only do I have a decent shopping mall in my hometown but I live only ninety minutes from the Mall of America which is currently the largest mall in the United States. But since Montecasino was recommended to me by several people and I had some time to kill while my friends were in a business meeting, I decided to check it out. I was not disappointed.
When you enter the front door, it truly did feel like you just stepped onto the streets of Italy. The floor is cobblestone, the storefronts are designed in unique Roman and Italian architecture, coffee shops offer “sidewalk” seating, Italian restaurants boast beautiful balcony seating which overlooks the complex as you dine in greenery and “fairy” lighting (or what Americans would call white Christmas lights and/or rope lighting). Even the ceiling is painted with blue sky and clouds to give the effect of an outdoor venue. Hidden in the back corner of the mall just past the event ticket booth is a door leading outside to a beautiful square lined with more restaurants and coffee shops. A perfect, quiet place to escape for a moment.
The mall is not large enough to spend a full day, (unless you are visiting the casino), in fact, a couple of hours is plenty of time. But it was well worth the visit to see the amazing effort put into this mall to make it special and unique.
Even if you do not think a recommendation sounds all that interesting, be willing to take some suggestions from the locals. It might just be a wonderful surprise.