The close proximity to luxury brands factory outlets like Prada Space Outlet is another reason why people come to Florence. There’s a saying that Space Outlet gets more visitors than Uffizzi Gallery, wow! The Prada Mecca is located at Montevarchi which’s just a 30 min drive from Florence. But since we didn’t have a rental car, we opted to board a regional train (around 5 Euros one way). Follow by a taxi ride instead of hiring a taxi from Florence for around 120-150 Euros.
Upon reaching Montevarchi-Terranuova station, there will be taxi drivers outside shouting ‘Prada, Prada’. From what my driver told me, there are only 4 taxis operating in town. So just hop on to any by paying 3 Euros to share the cab with others or 12 Euros for the whole taxi to yourself.
The Space Outlet building is so unassuming that we thought the driver brought us to the wrong place. Don’t be fool by the appearance – here’s the worst kept secret to indulging in Prada’s Italian fashion at fraction of its street prices. A little less guilt while filling up the shopping bags with more stuff…heh…
We were among the first few to arrive, collect our queue numbers from a ticket dispenser and waited. People started streaming in when it’s near the opening hour.
Once the door opens, ladies storm the store like commandos, wanting to grab hold of every Prada handbags or Miu Miu ones in sight. Designer handbags are one big magnet for women LOL. We overheard one Asian lady getting 10 handbags of the same design at one go – WOW. As told, the store’s inventory is limited to an unknown quantity per day (or per hour?), which perhaps intensify the competition.
While wifey prowls the battle zone, I move over to the quieter (perhaps more sane LOL) men’s section.
I grabbed a few belts and a pair of shoes, informed the Salesperson my queue ticket numbers and he placed them behind the cashier counters. The belts cost around 80-120 Euros each but I see them retailing at over 220 Euros in Rome’s store. That’s not a bad deal especially after factoring in the 10-12% VAT refund.
Wifey’s a much happier camper and her shopping cart is obviously more filled up than mine. The wait at the cashier took a while before we paid for our items, showed our passports and filled up the VAT refund forms.
Shopping at The Mall Firenze outlets
We proceeded to The Mall outlets next for more bargain hunting. So it’s Modus Operandi – regional train (3 Euros one way) from Montevarchi-Terranuova to Rignano Sull’Arno and then taxi. Unlike Montevarchi, this is a very quiet station with no taxi in sight, so we called a taxi’s numbers we found on the notice board. And reaching The Mall after a 5 min ride. There’s a direct bus if you’re coming straight from Florence.
The Mall carries brands like Salvatore Ferragamo, Bottega Veneta, Prada (yes, again), Armani, Tods, Gucci etc.
I got a comfortable pair of Ferragamo shoes for around 200 Euros and a Bottega Veneta wallet. The wallet is at least S$200 cheaper compared to buying in Singapore. The Prada has got quite a big selection here as well but we didn’t find anything we fancy. There’s even a Global Blue VAT refund office here, meaning we got our VAT savings on the spot – Nice!
After a long day of outlets shopping, we took the 1-hour SITA bus ride back to Florence for our dinner.