We often talk about Italy and its food, but let’s not forget the other F-word… fashion. From the big, bold glamor of Cavalli to the minimalist lines of Armani and Gucci’s retro cool, Italy is a destination for the seriously stylish. And if you know where to look, it can be a great destination for the bargain-hunting traveler too; the designer outlets in this country are on a whole other level, but the best ones can be hard to find. That’s where we come in – here’s some of the best outposts to visit to get some world-class pieces at wallet-friendly prices.
Prada Space Outlet, Montevarchi, Tuscany
Full disclosure – getting your fabulous fashion at up to 90% discount is not going to be easy. The Prada/Miu Miu factory outlet is like the holy grail for fashion fans, but it’s a little tricky to get to. The outlet only allows a restricted number of shoppers inside at any time, so if you visit on the weekend you might have to wait. You’ll need to take the train from Florence to Montevarchi then grab a taxi (or even better, drive). If you’re looking for a runway piece try and make your visit at the end of the season, when you have a better chance to get lucky.
Prada Space, 52025 Montevarchi, Tuscany
Marni Outlet, Milan
The Marni outlet used to be near impossible to find, hidden away in what looks like a residential estate, near the main Marni factory. The good news is that last year it moved to a more accessible location closer to downtown Milan. This little gem has runway pieces at deep discounts, usually up to 50%. Our tips? Go for the shoes and accessories; after all, it can be hard to justify hundreds of dollars for one of Marni’s iconic sculptural necklaces, but at a fraction of the cost the idea becomes much more appealing.
Marni Outlet, Via G. Sismondi 65, 20133 Milan
Armani Factory Store, Milan
Some 20 miles outside of Milan you’ll find this huge cut-price mecca to the master of minimalism, at up to 70% off. The whole range of Armani lines can be found here, including childrenswear, but we recommend that you keep your eye out for the softly structured suiting that made the brand a household name. It’s in a hidden away spot (you might be noticing a theme here) so come by car if you can.
Armani Factory Store, 13 Strada Provinciale per Bregnano, Vertemate;
Bulgari Outlet, Rome
Jewelry lovers take a deep breath – you’re about to find some of the most iconic baubles ever made at up to 40% discount. There’s no sign on the door at Via Aurelia but ring the buzzer and you’ll be transported to diamond heaven. And it’s not just jewelry, you’ll find silk scarves, sunglasses and watches too. What girl can resist?
Bulgari Outlet, Via Aurelia 105, Roma, Lazio, Italy 00100
The Mall, Tuscany, Italy
If you’re not faithful to just one label and prefer to window shop before you commit your credit card, then The Mall, just outside of Florence, is perfect for you. You can drive, or take the private shuttle right from your accommodation in Florence (must be booked in advance, ask your concierge for more info). Here you’ll find almost every Italian label you can think of – Gucci, Valentino, Cavalli, Balenciaga – in a chic, well-laid out mall surrounded by rolling Tuscan hills. If you need some refreshment while you shop, stop in at the oh-so-stylish Gucci Caffe on site for lunch in some very well-heeled company.
The Mall, Europa 8, Leccio-Reggello, Tuscany