Florence Outlet Shopping
Feb 16 , 2011
Interested in finding the best deals on designer clothes in Florence? Learn about Florence outlet shopping and how to save the most money on luxury goods. If you play your cards right, you'll finish with the perfect purse and a few extra hundred bucks to spend a nice bottle of wine or extravagant dinner.
Fashion magazines showcase products that just don't fit a normal person's budget. Instead of spending $300 on a "well-priced" pair of designer shoes, most people purchase a cheaper pair of shoes that work just fine, and use the money left over for a nice Florence dinner or two. For better or worse, high-fashion and frugality just don't mix, that is, unless you partake in the Florence outlet shopping scene.
While in Florence, you'll have the opportunity to purchase designer goods at normal people prices. Choose from a wide variety of brands, including: Emporio Armani, Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Valentino, Fendi, Burberry and Yves Saint Laurent. You'll find everything you want—clothes, bags, jewelry, shoes and sunglasses—at up to 70% off retail prices. Moreover, if you're a non-EU citizen, you can bring your passport and avoid some taxes on Florence outlet shopping, saving at least another 10% on anything you purchase. Save ahead of time and set money (although not too much!) aside specifically for the outlets.
"The Mall" in Leccio, the most famous place for Florence outlet shopping, has over twnety of the most famous designer labels in the world. Top Italian designers include Salvatore Ferragamo, Fendi, Gucci, Pucci and Sergio Rossi. You'll also find some of the most famous non-Italian designers such as Yohji Yamamoto from Japan and Alexander McQueen from Britain. Most people find great prices on shoes, bags and sunglasses, but you also might find well-priced clothing, accessories and jewelry. If you're an independent, budget-minded traveller, take the Sita bus from the main bus station in Florence to Leccio. If you prefer luxury and convenience, take a Florence outlet shopping bus tour.
Traveler Tip: Caf Tours is a nice Italian tour company, and has relatively good ticket prices.
Individual Outlet Stores
Just a short drive from "the Mall" is the Dolce & Gabbana Outlet, which attracts all types of shoppers looking for the best prices on its last season's collection. Occasionally, the D&G factory outlet also offers sample clothing that never made it to production. Expect to find all sizes but a greater volume of clothes in men's 48 and women's 40/41.
If you have a car or don't mind taking the train, you might also want to visit Space, the Prada outlet in Montevarchi. Space has Prada products for men and women, as well as Miu Miu, Helmut Lang and Jill Sander designer pieces. Unlike traditional Florence outlet shopping, the Prada outlet limits the store to one hundred people at any given time. Be sure to arrive before the store opens to ensure a good place in line. Start in the women's section because it tends to get the most crowded. You can always visit the men's section later after you've secured your in-demand bounty. Once you've found something you're interested in, bring it to a salesperson and he or she will check if they have a new one in the back for you to purchase instead. The Prada outlet also differs from normal Florence outlet shopping because it has separate registers for men and women. Divide your items into two categories and go to the appropriate register. Also, don't forget to present your passport; non-EU citizen can save up to an additional 12% on purchases.
Traveler Tip: Note that all Florence outlet shopping prices come from markdowns of designer labels. Something that originally cost 1000 € will still seem expensive at 500€. Is it a good deal? Yes. Is a good deal for a normal person's budget? Probably not. Try to find for shoes at 120€ and under. Bags and sunglasses might even go as low as 40€. Trust your instincts—if something seems too expensive, don't get it. You might just find a better piece at the next Florence outlet shopping destination.