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If you’re in Italy this summer, it’s worth checking out the outlets because of the deals you’ll get during the summer sales… When I was on vacation there a few weeks ago, one of the stops on my list was the area in the Tuscan hills outside of Florence where the designer outlets are nestled.  The most popular of these is THE MALL where there are outlets for Prada, Lanvin, Dior, Armani, Balenciaga, Marni, Gucci and more…

Over the weekend, the designer outlets began their summer sale with additional markdowns from 30-50% off the outlet price. Unfortunately, my timing was off.  When I visited THE MALL last month, the additional discounts hadn’t started yet. For those traveling in the area this summer, it’s definitely worth checking out.

The Prada outlet was the first stop during our shopping excursion. We got there before the doors opened at 10am and already there was a line outside. The store has two levels: the ground floor carries all the accessories with handbags and wallets right next to the main door and other rooms for women’s and men’s shoes. The second level offers both women’s and men’s apparel.

The Prada outlet was quickly mobbed just 30 minutes after opening. A tour bus had just pulled up. Once the shoppers made their way inside the store, it was tough trying to look at the merchandise. It was like locusts had descended on the store. Many of them went straight for the handbags and wallets. The selection was pretty good – lots of totes, shoulder bags, clutches and more. But, in my opinion, the outlet prices were still expensive for most things, which are around 40% off retail. That said, there were a few overstock items (especially ready-to-wear) at up to 70% off the original price.

My next stop was the Lanvin outlet store, which was fairly quiet. There were plenty of current season items but nothing that caught my eye. The Fendi store was next door. Alexander McQueen’s outlet was also in that section of The Mall. I quickly stopped into Balenciaga, Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent. I did spot some nice handbags at YSL and The Mister saw great suits there. He also spotted a great olive green jumpsuit at Prada (imagine a trendy workman’s jumpsuit). For 90-euro, he did consider buying it for the purpose of wearing it while working on his art projects.

In a section not easily seen, down a flight of stairs was the Marni outlet.  The store was filled with great pieces and quite a few deals to be had such as cute vintage-inspired clutches for 135-euro, handbags for 235-euro and a special on quirky sunglasses for 40-euro.  The sales staff were great at Marni.  I must thank both Michele & Dennis for their help. I do have to say that all the sales people we encountered at the outlets were very friendly and helpful.

I also have to thank The Mister who indulged me and my shopping whims during our vacation. It was a quick drive from Florence. While the scenery along the roads in the Tuscan Hills was lovely, I have to say it was a bit strange to see these new buildings and advertisements dotting the idyllic countryside.

Since the outlets are a destination for many visitors, getting there is fairly easy. Shoppers can drive, take a bus and shuttle service from Florence. Click HERE to see your options and download directions.

There was another outlet which we quickly stopped into called Fashion Valley where outlets for Staff USA, Trussardi, Versace, Vivienne Westwood and more can be found. Plus, there also is a separate Prada Outlet nearby.  Click HERE for directions to that one.  Besides these two outlet, there are quite a number located in Italy.  Click HERE for that list.

Where/When: THE MALL Outlet Centre, Via Europa 8, 50066 Leccio Reggello (FI); July 6-Sept 3; Opened Daily, Mon-Sun (10am-7pm).  Click HERE to see details of special days and hours.

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