Bang for your buck

Great fashion finds in Florence: a guide to luxury discount shopping

Mary Delsener
January 27, 2011

Perusing the windows along Florence's cobblestone streets and scavenging for a coveted item of clothing is more passion than a pastime for the devoted shopper, but for the visitor with limited time, navigating the shopping world of Florence can be difficult-and expensive! Luckily, Florence and the surrounding area offer a range of discounted options for both the lux-seeking and budget-conscious fashion lover. With today's gloomy financial forecast, it only makes sense to shop for bargains. In the last issue (TF 134), we published a guide for those with a penchant for vintage. Here, Mary Delsner bring you a guide to snagging the luxurious looks of Italy's most glamorous brands at fractions of the price. Flex your fashion savvy in Florence-happy hunting!


Raspini Vintage 3.5


(piazza Duomo, 3/5r, via Martelli, tel. 055/2398336)


The slogan of this well-known luxury department store is La scarpa che fa epoca (‘the shoe that started an era'), and what an era it has been! A family-owned business that developed into a dynasty, Raspini epitomizes modern Italian elegance. Started in 1948 as a small shoe store, Raspini garnered acclaim for the superior quality of its merchandise and expanded to other locations, such as the current three-floor store on via Roma. (Note that in this milieu, ‘vintage' means ‘last season.') Raspini Vintage 3.5, the via Roma location's outlet, features upscale brands for a mature clientele. In addition to the store's in-house line, classic Italian brands such as Prada, Dolce & Gabbana and Armani (who, in fact, designed shoes for the company in his early years) are available, likewise from past seasons; the other locations display exclusively current, ready-to-wear collections. Be prepared for pricier items, but less pricy than usual.Raspini Vintage


(via Calimaruzza, 17r; tel. 055/215796)


The newest addition to the Raspini family, having opened its doors only two years ago, Raspini Vintage offers the previous season's inventory at discounted prices. While the same Raspini and other luxury brands are available, the diverse stock attracts both the youth of Florence and others searching for a bargain on brand-new clothes. Pick up brand-name shoes, accessories, leather and dresses at marked down prices, while still feeling quite posh shopping there!Gerard Outlet


(via Lambertesca, 24)


Gerard Outlet is the hybrid child of Gerard, the original, high-end store, and Gerard Loft, the more urban, youth-orientated alternative. With clothes from both stores being funneled into this centrally located outlet not far from the Ponte Vecchio, customers are privy to a diverse range of brands, from Balenciaga and Chloé to Livas, Adidas and Marc Jacobs. If you're looking for a discount way to shop for youth-friendly and big name brands with a European flair, Gerard Outlet is your destination. Luisa Via Roma Outlet


(via Silvio Pellico, 9; tel. 055/217826)


The cream of the crop of Italian fashion luxe, Luisa Via Roma was founded in 1930 and blossomed into a hub for fashion, design and high-end brand names. More than just a store, Luisa Via Roma has expanded into a brand since its creation and has added a stellar online component, a fashion blog and an amazing outlet store, Luisa Via Roma Outlet. Here, shoppers can find designers' last-season looks, including brands such as Diane Von Furstenberg, Fendi, Missoni, Oscar de la Renta and more.Barberino Outlet


(via Meucci, Barberino del Mugello; tel. 055/842161)


Located 30 minutes outside of Florence, the Barberino Designer Outlet houses more than 100 stores and boasts luxury brands such as Loro Piana and Fendi at prices marked down from 30 to 70 percent. With shuttles running daily from Florence at both Santa Maria Novella (10am and 2:35pm) and the Fortezza da Basso (10:05am and 2:30pm), many shoppers make a day out of the trip and explore the picturesque mall's various dining options. Shopping for occasions ranging from sport to home furnishings to eveningwear is easy with fashion's most famous brands all in one place. The Mall


(via Europa 8, Leccio, Reggello; tel. 055/8657775)


Like the Barberino Outlet, The Mall is 30 minutes from Florence and accessible daily by shuttle bus (the bus runs daily and can pick up clients from any centrally-located area of Florence; reservations can be made by calling the number above. Alternately, there is a SITA bus that runs from the Autostazione Sita on via S. Caterina da Siena, 17; Stores feature such iconic Italian names as Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Valentino and Armani at discounts ranging from 30 to 50 percent. The prices may still seem steep after discounts, but for those looking for world-renowned Italian brand names and garments that can last several seasons, this is an ideal shopping locale.




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