Italy is famous for its fashion and is home to some of the world’s top brands, including Prada, Gucci and Versace, to name just a few! Tourists and visitors often want to make shopping a major part of their trip to Italy but it can quickly get very expensive to shop in the cities’ main fashion districts.
Of course, if you’re an Expat and live full-time in Italy you can time your shopping trips to coincide with the Sales that take place in January and July each year. These biannual sales help retailers to sell the previous season’s stock in order to make way for the new merchandise and consequently, you can get some fantastic bargains of up to 50-70% off items.
However, these sales only last for a month or so and for the rest of the year the prices for high quality clothes, shoes and accessories manufactured by the top brands can be a little steep! To add to this, during the sales, the best items fly off the shelves and if you’re not fast you’ll find that you don’t always have a lot of choice of sizes and colors for many of the things you want to buy.
Designer Shopping On A Budget.
While it’s true that you might occasionally find the exact item you were looking for at a discounted price during the sales, you really can’t rely on them to replace your clothes or update your wardrobe.
Instead, it’s a much better idea to get to know the local outlets where you can take advantage of year-round discounts on all the top fashion brands. An outlet, or an outlet store, is a brick and mortar shop where manufacturers sell their stock directly to the public without going through a third party.
This allows the manufacturers to make savings that they can pass on to you, the consumer. Outlets used to be known as ‘factory stores’, where the public could go and watch the items being manufactured before buying them at a discount. However, as the trend evolved and outlet stores became more popular with the public they grew to become an important part of any fashion brand’s business model. Today, you can visit outlet malls that house a whole range of different brands offering their wares at significantly discounted prices.
Tourists, Expats and locals alike frequently visit Italy’s outlets to replenish their wardrobes, look for bargains and enjoy a shopping spree that won’t break the bank!
Why Shop At An Outlet Mall In Italy?
There are many reasons to drop by your local outlet from time to time if you live in Italy or include a visit in your itinerary if you’re a tourist.
- Prices Are Cheaper Than On The High Street: Prices in an outlet store are at least 10-20% cheaper than on the high street; although in many cases you can find discounts of up to 50-70% on items, all through the year!
- There Are More Sales And Promotions: Outlet stores are constantly promoting new offers and deals for their customers. This is particularly true if you visit an outlet shopping center where the different outlet stores are vying for your custom. As well as the sales and promotions many outlets also use coupons and loyalty cards which you can use to get further discounts on the prices in their stores.
- More Choice Of Products: Outlet stores often have racks of items from past seasons and tend to have a much wider choice of size, color and shapes than the high street stores do during their sales. That means if you’ve missed out on finding what you wanted during the sales on the high street you’ll be able to find it at the nearest outlet store.
- Outlet Stores Are More Relaxed Than The High Street: When you shop in many of the fashion stores in the cities of Italy you often come across pushy sales staff who try to pressure you to make a purchase. By contrast, in an outlet it’s far more relaxed so you can wander around the store at your leisure without being hassled by sales staff trying to meet a weekly sales target. This makes for a much more enjoyable shopping trip and gives you the time and space to think about purchases before you hand over your credit card.
- Outlet Malls Are More Convenient: When you visit an outlet mall, or outlet park as they are often called in Europe, you’ll be able to leave your car in a spacious car park and then peruse a whole range of different brands under one roof. Outlet parks also have on-site eateries and restaurants, so if you’re taking a day trip you can stop off for lunch before you hit the stores again in the afternoon!
There are outlet stores and parks near all of Italy’s major cities. That means that no matter where you live in the country you can easily drop by the outlet mall to find some bargains, have a relaxing day trip with your family or simply have fun window shopping the world’s top brands.
Outlet Malls Near Rome.
The following are the main outlet malls near Rome:
Castel Romano, located about 25 km from central Rome, offers a wide range of brands at super discounted prices. There are more than 150 stores in the complex including Hugo Boss, Karl Lagerfeld, Moschino, Gallo and Ermenegildo Zegna, to name just a few. You’ll also find some of Rome’s top brands in Castel Romano, such as Valentino and David Saddler.
The best way to get to the mall is to catch the mall’s own shuttle bus from Rome’s Termini Station in the center of town or to drive yourself in a car. It takes around 30 minutes to reach Castel Romano from central Rome.
Situated to the South of Rome, the Valmontone Outlet is home to nearly 200 outlet stores that offer discounts of between 30-70% on items compared to high street. Some of the headline brands in the Valmontone Outlet include the AS Roma Store, Lazio Store, Trussardi, Sandro Ferrone, Gattinoni, Gaudi and Empresa. The complex also has a lovely food court where you can relax and have some coffee and lunch while you rest your feet.
To reach the mall you can drive yourself or you can catch the train from central Rome to Valmontone and then jump on the mall’s shuttle bus that runs from Wednesday through Sunday each week and costs 1 Euro each way.
Outlet Malls Near Florence.
The following are the main outlet malls near Florence:
Barberino Designer Outlet.
With over 120 stores on site, the Barberino Designer Outlet houses all the top brands as well as a great selection of restaurants. The Barberino Designer Outlet has outlet stores for brands from all over the world including Nike, GAP, Levi’s, L’Oreal, Benetton and Bialetti, among many others!
You can catch a shuttle bus to the outlet park from Santa Maria Novella station in Florence or drive yourself if you have a car.
The Mall Firenze.
The Mall Firenze is set in the beautiful Tuscan countryside outside of Florence and is a sophisticated oasis that provides a luxury shopping experience at affordable prices. Not only can you peruse the fashion outlets but you can also taste wine and sample food from the Tuscan region. This mall is certainly a cut above the rest and worth including in your shopping itinerary!
If you’re traveling to the Mall Firenze by car you can take the A1 motorway towards Rome and then exit at Incisa-Reggello. The luxury mall is just outside the center of Leccio. Alternatively, you can catch a bus which leaves throughout the day from central Florence.
Space PRADA Outlet.
This unique outlet park is located in Montevarchi, near Arezzo, and sells Prada, Helmut Lang, Car Shoe and Miu Miu clothes, accessories and shoes from the last season at seriously cut prices. Situated near Valdarno, where Prada make much of their clothes and shoes, the Space PRADA Outlet sells items for men and women at bargain prices.
The Space PRADA Outlet is worth a weekend trip in itself and with several nearby hotels and restaurants in Montevarchi you could combine your shopping trip with a cultural tour of the town and surrounding areas. The outlet park also puts on regular modern art exhibitions as well as other events throughout the year.
The easiest way to get to the Space PRADA Outlet is to catch a train from Florence to Montevarchi where you can take a short taxi ride to get to the mall or your hotel.
Outlet Malls Near Venice.
There is one major outlet mall near Venice.
Noventa Di Piave.
Located just over 30 minutes outside of Venice, the Noventa di Piave has 150 outlet stores including Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Prada, Bottega Veneta, Missoni and Valentino as well as 10 on site restaurants. The ideal place for a discounted shopping trip near Venice, the Noventa di Piave also has a luxury lounge if you want to put your feet up and have a few refreshments during the day.
To get to the Noventa di Piave you can catch a shuttle bus from the Mestre Bus Terminal in Venice. Alternatively, you can catch a train to the San Dona di Piave -Jesolo stop. From there you can catch the bus directly to the outlet park. The Noventa di Piave also arranges group trips and private transfers directly from your hotel.
Outlet Malls Near Milan.
The following are the main outlet malls near Milan:
Serravalle Designer Outlet.
With more than 300 designer outlet stores on site, the Serravalle Designer Outlet is the largest mall near Milan and has a dazzling array of high-end fashion on offer at bargain basement prices! Among the leading brands at the Serravalle Designer Outlet are Dolce & Gabbana, La Perla, Nike, Bulgari and Fratelli Rossetti, but there’s a lot more on offer too. There’s also a Starbucks, Burger King and Wagama on site if you need a coffee or a bite to eat during your shopping trip.
To get to the Serravalle Designer Outlet you can catch a shuttle bus from Milano Centrale Station or arrange a private transfer from your hotel with prices starting at 80 Euros per person. Alternatively, you can drive yourself which will take around 1 hour from central Milan.
Franciacorta Outlet Village.
Nicknamed the ‘Land of Fashion’, the Franciacorta Outlet Village is home to major brands such as Calvin Klein, Boggi Milano, Romeo Gigli, Puma, Brooks Brothers, Nike, K Way and Adidas, among others. The Franciacorta Outlet Village has amazing offers which can be up to as much as 70% off the standard high street prices.
The outlet village has recently added a regional tourist information complex where you can book golfing as well as wine tours, a cruise of the Iseo Lake and other fun activities! Combining luxury activities, tours and restaurants, the Franciacorta Outlet Village is a great choice for a short weekend break away from the hustle and bustle of Milan.
The mall offers a daily shuttle bus that departs from Largo Cairoli in central Milan and drops you back off at 6.30 pm.
Tax-Free Shopping In Italian-Speaking Switzerland.
If you’re in Northern Italy and would like to take advantage of tax-free outlet shopping across the border in Switzerland; then a trip to Foxtown Factory Stores ticks all the boxes!
Foxtown Factory Stores is an outlet park just 15 km across the Italian-Swiss border and houses more than 140 international and Italian outlet stores. Among the 3 km of storefronts at Foxtown Factory Stores, you can find world-leading brands such as Valentino, La Perla, Michael Kors, Missoni, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, and many more besides!
With up to 70% discounts on leading brands, 9 restaurants and bars, tourist activities, on-site tailoring services, a children’s play area, currency exchange and even a casino, Foxtown Factory Stores is the ultimate tax-free shopping destination if you’re in Northern Italy.
The Foxtown Factory Stores are located in Mendrisio in the canton of Ticino in Switzerland, 15 km from the border of Northern Italy. You can take a train to the Mendrisio San Martino from Milano Centrale, which will take around 90 minutes and take you through the stunning mountain scenery. Alternatively, you can drive down the Milano-Lugano highway from Milan which is around 50 km and will take you just over an hour.
Remember to take your passport with you when you travel to Switzerland. You may need a visa to enter Switzerland depending on your country of origin.
Outlet Shopping Is The Best Way To Find Unbeatable Prices.
Although outlet stores are often overlooked by tourists and even Expats in Italy, the locals are regular visitors! Not only can you find all the best brands at seriously discounted prices but you can also take a break in the food court, stay in a nearby hotel and enjoy the culture of the area.
For tourists who are visiting Italy, a day trip to a nearby outlet park should certainly be a part of your itinerary if you’re planning on doing some shopping while you’re in the country.