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 a method). Follow by a taxi ride instead of hiring a taxi from Florence for around 120-150 Euros.
Upon reaching Montevarchi-Terranuova station, there will probably 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. Rather less guilt while filling up the shopping bags with more stuff…heh/p>
We were among the primary few to arrive, collect our queue numbers from a ticket dispenser and waited. People started streaming in when it’s near opening hour.
Once the door opens, ladies storm the shop like elite commandos, wanting to grab every Prada or Miu Miu bag in sight. We overheard one Asian lady getting 10 bags of the same design at one go WOW. As told, the store’s inventory is proscribed 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 couple of 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 foul deal especially after factoring in the 10-12% VAT refund.
Wifey’s a much happier camper and her shopping cart is clearly more filled up than mine. The wait at the cashier took quite a while before we paid for our items, showed our passports and filled up the VAT refund forms.
Shopping on the Mall outlets
We proceeded to The Mall outlets next for more bargain hunting. So it’s Modus Operandi regional train (around 3 Euros a technique) from Montevarchi-Terranuova to Rignano Sull’Arno after which 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 snug pair of Ferragamo shoes for around 200 Euros and a Bottega Veneta wallet. The wallet is at the least S$200 cheaper compared to purchasing 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 world Blue VAT refund office here, meaning we got our VAT savings on the spot Nice!
After a protracted day of outlets shopping, we took the 1 hour SITA bus ride back to Florence and have our dinner at Osteria dell’Agnolo.
Via Levanella Becorpi, 52025 Montevarchi
Getting here: Take the regional train and alight at Montevarchi-Terranuova station. From there, just board a taxi outside the train station.
Via Europa, 8, 50066 Leccio, Reggello FI, Italy
Getting here: Take the direct bus from Busitalia/SITA bus depot located at Via Santa Caterina da Siena 17 Firenze (near to Firenze SMN Station).