Italy: Europe’s biggest shopping mall now open

Lombard: The Oriocenter mall, located by the Orio al Serio International Airport on the outskirts of the Lombard city, measures 105,000 square metres in total after the official opening of a new wing.

The 35,000 square metre extension opening made the centre the largest shopping area in Europe.

Shoppers will be able to browse 280 stores and take a break in one of the 50 restaurants on site. They’ll also have the chance to stock up on groceries in a massive hypermarket, or visit the multiplex cinema – home to 14 screens, including the largest in the continent.

Some brands launched in Italy for the first time in the new wing, including Japanese chain restaurant Wagamama.

The ground floor houses a variety of high street fashion, sports and home furnishings stores, while the upper level is filled with luxury brands, including ‘Made in Italy’ designers as well as international names.

And locals will benefit from an anticipated 600 new job opportunities at the site.

Orio al Serio, a hub for low-cost Ryanair, is the country’s third busiest airport after Rome Fiumicino and Milan Malpensa, and was in 2013 named the second worst in the world. But connecting the airport to the mall is “the dream” according to one of the investors.

Antonio Percassi, president of Finser, a company which put €100 million towards the expansion project, said he hoped that “an elevated connection” to the airport would be put in place in the future. Currently, the only way to reach the shopping centre from the airport is through a pedestrian underpass.