I’m fully aware of how much these high-end designer clothes cost at the centrally located boutiques.
As an example, last year I purchased a blazer at the Gucci boutique on 5th Avenue in New York for slightly above $2,000 plus tax. Then I had to buy a dress shirt that cost me another 450 bucks. A pair of classic Prada shoes would normally cost you around $500.
So I thought that all of this pricey designer apparel should be much cheaper in Italy.
But there’s a catch!
In Search for the Perfect Luxury Outlet
In reality you’ll see that the prices at boutiques in Rome or Florence are very similar to what you’ll find in US. Getting a better value for money on the top Italian designer brands like Gucci and Prada assumes going outside the central city areas. I have been to several outlet stores in Italy before. About one year ago I had a chance to shop at Serravalle Designer Outlet located closer to Milan. I have also been to Castel Romano Designer Outlet near Rome and Foxtown Outlet in Switzerland.
Here is the deal:
None of them could match high class of the Mall Outlet Florence also known as The Mall.
There are several considerations I wanted to share with you in regards to shopping at the Florence Outlet Mall as well as other outlet stores in Italy:
The quality of the clothes sold at most of other outlets is just incomparable to what you’ll find at the original boutiques. In many cases these clothes look like they have been produced to be sold only at the outlets.
The clothes and accessories you’ll find at the Mall Outlet in Florence are very close or in some cases similar to what they sell on 5th Avenue or Via Condotti. This results in higher prices comparing to other less upscale outlets in Italy.
5 Years ago the Florence Outlet Mall was different in a number of ways. The main difference is that it had twice less boutiques and it was definitely cheaper. In addition to that it was much easier to get your hands on some exclusive bargains especially during season sales. The reason for that is because the flow of shoppers wasn’t so heavy as today.
Most of the highest spenders at The Mall today are Chinese tourists. They arrive here every half an hour from Florence using the official shuttle bus service.
Florence Outlet Mall Shuttle Bus
The best way to reach the desired Tuscany shopping destination is to use the original Florence Outlet Mall Shuttle Bus. The Mall is located in the Tuscan countryside just steps away from the small town called Leccio.
The driving time from Florence is just 30 minutes.
These modern double-decker shuttle buses depart from the stop located at the central railway station. During summer they run every half an hour. This results in hundreds and thousands of new visitors in search of good deals from around the world every day! Make sure to check the original bus schedule here.
The Mall Florence Brands
Florence Outlet Mall resembles a village that includes more than 30 top of the line Italian brand name boutiques and a restaurant. Over the years The Mall has really expanded its borders as well as the number of brands. Today it looks similar in size to the neighboring town. In addition to that there are 3 anchor outlet boutiques that make this place so special. These stores are actually the biggest Gucci, Prada and Moncler outlets in Europe!
Gucci Factory Outlet is one of the main attraction points of The Mall. It’s located in a separate two story building. New clothes and accessories are shipped there every day. You can see a constant line of people gathering outside its main entrance.
Who are these people?
Most of them are Chinese tourists hungry for luxury products.
If you see something you like and the price looks reasonable then don’t hesitate to make your decision. There are hundreds of wealthy people from China behind your back that act fast.
The Mall Outlet Florence Prices
As I have mentioned before, the prices at the Florence Outlet Mall have gone up during the past several years. Here is my review of some of the products and their price tags so you’ll have a general idea.
Here is a classic Gucci dress shirt for 135 Euros (Full Price 300 Euros).
Hooded Bomber made of fine Nappa Leather is 1015 Euros (Full Price 2,250 Euros).
Here is a cotton Navy blazer for 810 Euros (Full Price 1,790 Euros).
Nice cotton Polo for 165 Euros (Full Price 360 Euros).
I loved this Blue Japan Gucci Blazer for 700 Euros (Full Price 1,550).
You can see that the The Mall outlet prices are not cheap. At the same time they are much better than at the regular boutiques in Florence or Rome especially during season sale.
Prada Outlet Florence and Other Bargains
Prada Outlet Florence is the second anchor store also located in a two story building. The first floor is dedicated to shoes and accessories the second has all the clothes. Similar to the Gucci factory outlet all prices are about twice cheaper than at the regular boutiques.
Here is a snapshot from the official Tod’s online store in US. You can see that you’ll pay around $500 for most of these shoes. The prices on Tod’s shoes at The Mall Outlet are about twice cheaper.
Don’t forget that you can get an even better deal during the season sale.
Same thing is with the Hogan shoes. A pair of these will cost you more than $400 in US.
Again the outlet price is more than twice cheaper.
What about more casual brands?
On the other side, the prices at the Nike outlet are really close to what you’ll find at the regular stores. A pair of 2015 Nike Flex shoes costs 60 Euros. You can buy Nike Flex 2016 edition for $60 at the Nike’s online store in US. Nike DRI-Fit t shirts are sold for 34 Euros that doesn’t look too attractive either.
As you can see, more expensive Italian designer clothes and accessories is what you should be targeting at the Florence Outlet Mall.
Tuscan Countryside: Your Smart Stay Near Florence
After reviewing a lot of information about staying options around Florence we picked the hotel called Tenuta il Burchio. Burchio is a small town surrounded by the scenic Tuscan countryside. Our Tuscan villa was very simple and had all of the standard amenities. The main reasons why I picked this hotel were its excellent accessibility characteristics and price.
Here is my summary of all the key benefits of the hotel:
The main highway connecting the town with Florence could be easily reached within minutes.
It took just 30 minutes to reach Florence by car.
Florence Outlet Mall could be reached within just 10 minutes using a quiet Tuscan road.
Our room rate was 60 Euros per night for a 17 square meters room.
Parking, WiFi and breakfast were free of charge. The breakfast was very generous and good quality.
Florence Outlet Mall: Restaurants Recommendation
We were exhausted and starving after the whole day of extensive shopping. It was time to find a nice restaurant to finally sit down and have our dinner. As you can imagine there are lots of places in the area where you can have a meal. As usual, we wanted to select something less touristic. Here are several options we have tried and my comments about them:
Dot.Com Café is the easiest option because it’s located at the premises of the Florence Outlet Mall. I would suggest it if you are too tired and want to have a quick bite before going back to your hotel. Obviously this place is very touristic. It means that there is not much you can order there. They have some slightly overpriced packaged salads, pizzas and double cappuccinos that they serve in big cups. The place gets crowded during the day, so the best option is to sit outside. Overall the quality is not bad, but it’s not the best option to have a meal in Tuscany.
There is a recently opened restaurant located on top of the Gucci Factory Outlet. The place is called Gucci Café and it is positioned more like a restaurant rather than a café. They have a number of first and second course options that include meat and fish dishes. For example you can order “Fresh Pasta Pici with tomato sauce and basil” that will cost you 9 Euros. A portion of “Grilled Tuna Steak with Pepper” is priced at 15 Euros. Most of the 10 desert dishes available on the menu cost around 6 Euros. It’s not a bad option to have a quick meal here, but I would suggest finding something more Italian:).
Ristorante Il Canniccio is located slightly away from the main road connecting Florence Outlet Mall and the main highway. This place has its sign in front of the turn, so you won’t miss it. They have a large number of customers driving to and from The Mall. The restaurant is located on the hill so it has a nice view from its open verandah. Other than that the food is very average and a bit overpriced. We ordered rabbit ragout that was extremely salty. The personnel is not too welcoming. They have a constant flow of tourists and there is no need to care about individual guests. Overall it’s a typical tourist restaurant with a good location.
Osteria De’ Giusti is located near the highway. This restaurant seemed a lot more welcoming. We liked all the dishes we ordered. The portions seemed to be good and the prices were reasonable. This was compensated by a less attractive location. But overall it was worth the money.
We discovered La Casereccia Ristorante Pizzeria two days before our departure back to Rome. We liked it so much that we decided to come back there the next day. It’s a small restaurant located on the first floor of the residential apartment building. Its main customers are locals. There were no signs pointing to the restaurant from the main road. During our final evening in the area we saw some tourists from the US and China sitting at the neighboring tables. The prices were very reasonable considering nice portions and quality of food. We really enjoyed our ravioli and beef fillet.
My final thought about the Florence Outlet Mall is that overall it was worth it. It’s probably the best outlet I have ever been to. It has the largest selection of luxury products from the biggest Italian brand names.
The location of the Mall outlet allows to easily reach Florence within just half an hour. We have managed to combine our shopping during first half of the day with exploring the capital of Tuscany during evenings. Make sure to check the The Mall Florence opening hours and dates in advance. As an example there are 4 days when it will be closed in 2016: December 25 & 26, January 1st and March 27th.