Shopping in Italy is a cult. And it is so especially due to names like Giorgio Armani, Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, and many others. These internationally renowned designers have raised the concept of Italian Fashion and given it the place in the global fashion market that it deserves. And this is also why millions of tourists take advantage of a shopping trip to Italy to bring home a souvenir signed by Mr. Salvatore Ferragamo.
“Made in Italy” products, including clothing and other fashion items, may be more expensive than other products, but the quality is there to behold. Nevertheless, besides the expensive shops in Milan’s Fashion District, Rome’s Via Condotti, Florence’s Via de ‘Tornabuoni (and so on), “shopping tourists” from all over the world can benefit from lower priced Italian goods. After a visit to Sistine Chapel, a walk along Ponte Vecchio or a ride on a Gondola, spending money may be running low, but it is still possible to take home one, or many more, outfits by legendary Italian fashion designers – by shopping at outlets.
Outlets, also known as Factory Stores, are often located in suburban and strategic areas, such as motorways and remote tourist areas; but this should not be a problem for those without a car, because there are agencies available on the Internet who even organise “Outlet Tours” for tourists. These tours can be booked online at any time! The agencies offer a pick up and set down service by private minibus, English speaking guide-driver and a tour of the outlets available in the selected area – Milan, Venice, Rome, Florence – which can also be combined with a classic sightseeing tour of the city. But that’s another story.
Let’s talk about important things now! We’re talking about savings up to 70%! This is possible as these products have been discontinued, or belong to previous collections, or are unsold stocks, or prototypes used on catwalks, or come from experimental collections.
And if this idea of “previous,” “unsold,” somewhat vintage, causes concern to the inflexible fashion victim, it is important to note that, especially with regard to prêt-a-porter brands, saying that an outfit is old just because actually manufactured in the previous season could be wholly inaccurate as designers work very early on fashion trends; sometimes even 4 years in advance.
Outlet stores are quite well established in Italy, and undoubtedly, the most famous ones are located on the outskirts of Florence; however, you’ll find other outlet stores featuring Gucci, Armani, D&G, or Valentino also in Milan and other Italian cities. So here is a roundup of the most famous for you!
One of the most popular Factory Stores in Italy is named McArthurGlen, in Serravalle (Alessandria), and offers a wide range of brands such as Prada, Roberto Cavalli, Versace, plus other international brands like, Liu Jo, Husky, Iceberg, Hugo Boss. Fidenza, in Emilia Romagna, is home to Fidenza Village, with over 885 outlet boutiques of world-leading and niche international luxury brands in fashion and lifestyle.
Near Milan you can have fun with Full & Fifty Factory Store – in Milano Meda, Outlet Marzotto Factory Store – in Milan, Lombardy, with a wide range of clothing and accessories for men and women by various well-known brands with all the guaranteed quality of Marzotto’s fabrics, as Missoni, Valentino, etc.
For those who happen to go shopping in Florence, and wish to venture out of the “ordinary” shops in Via de’ Tornabuoni, there’s The Mall – in Leccio Reggello, situated in the green hills of Tuscany, offering high fashion shopping at reduced prices of 30 – 50%; Dolce & Gabbana – in Incisa Val d’Arno, Factory Outlet Roberto Cavalli – in Sesto Fiorentino, with outfits from previous year’s collections; Prada Outlet – in Montevarchi, where you will find anything from clothing to shoes.
It’s really hard to list them all! Perhaps you could create your own shopping tour of Italy as you visit its celebrated cities of Art. Just choose the area (possibly, stay around Milan, Rome and Florence). This way you too can take home a very special piece of MODA.
Andrea is a travel blogger, web programmer, seo apprentice and amateur photographer based in Milan. He has been traveling through most of Europe and loves writing about it. When not wandering through seas and mountains he’s at work for Traveleurope.com