Yes, they weren’t kidding when they bestowed this name upon the place. It is The Mall, indeed. If there was only one place you could shop at when in Florence, it is undisputedly this factory outlet.
Admit it – deep down within us, we all love steals and cheap thrills. And trust me when I say you will thank me for this recommendation.
The Mall is an exclusive outlet destination for luxury goods at a fraction of its original prices. Situated at the outskirt of Florence and at an unassuming enclave in the green Tuscan hills, a day at The Mall is a promising experience. The air in the open is fresh and crisp, the boundless skies are blue and calming, the surrounding is a humble and quiet neighborhood. We spent an entire afternoon there – shopping (well, needless to say), indulging in a mid-day snack, and to simply bask in the serenity of the countryside.
For the fashion slaves (like me), be enthralled by the array of high-end fashion brands The Mall has to offer. Expect discounted past season items from brands like Prada, Yves Saint Laurent, Lanvin, Dior, Bottega Veneta, Sergio Rossi, Marni… really, I could go on and on.
Are you already excited? Wait till you hear about this MiuMiu satchel that I got for €450 – approximately S$640 after VAT refund, and an unbelievable €70 Dior necklace – approximately S$99 after VAT refund.
Generally, the discounts are at least 20% off its original prices, and as tourists, we are entitled to a 12% VAT refund for purchases above €155 – as long as the items are billed together in the same receipt. For maximum convenience, you may even process your refund(s) at the designated office located at the foot of The Mall. There is even an option to get your VAT refunds back in cash – but I think this is a conspiracy, because when they refund you in cash, you then have more money to shop! Evil, but quite honestly, very thoughtful.
For shopaholics, dedicate at least 5-7 hours for a complete experience. Shopping is never fun when rushed. If you have limited time, capitalize your hours there on bigger boutiques that have wider ranges to boast – Prada (together with MiuMiu and Car Shoe), Gucci, Burberry, Tod’s (together with Hogan), Fendi.
Many asked about shopping at Prada – it was a mind-blowing experience for me. Prada is a hot favorite among the shoppers, without a doubt. Almost everyone at The Mall could be seen carrying a Prada paper bag. I was supremely bewildered by the massive selection the stand-alone boutique had to offer – think of small leather goods like cardholders and key pouches starting at €50, a classic A4-sized leather bag going for as low as €350, men’s shoes at €120…
Yea, you got the idea. Now you know I meant it when I said you wouldn’t want to miss The Mall, don’t you?
Getting to The Mall is a slight hassle, but the trip will be worth the while. It is a thirty-minute drive from Florence. You can either drive there on your own, or take a public bus from the Florence Busitalia/ Sita bus company station, which is close to the central train station. A single ticket is €5, and buses run daily from Monday to Sunday (including public holidays). Do check the timings at the bus station, and be there 10 minutes earlier to ensure a seat.
Have fun shopping, and don’t forget to increase your credit card limit(s) prior to your trip!
Words and photographs by Melody Yap