If you want to get hold of top-label clothing without breaking the bank, you’ll need to take a trip into Florence’s hinterland. Tuscany is the powerhouse of the country’s textile industry, and the Arno valley is the home of many of the factories that manufacture clothes for the top labels. Several retail outlets within easy reach of Florence sell each season’s leftovers at discounts as high as sixty percent. The best are below; ask at the tourist office for a full list.
Barberino Designer Outlet
Via Meucci, Barberino di Mugello t 055 842 161, w mcarthurglen.it/barberino; SITA bus from Via Santa Caterina da Siena or shuttle bus from outside Santa Maria Novella station (2 daily). The biggest range, including D&G, Missoni and Prada, plus discounted high-street gear from labels such as Diesel and Furla. Mon 2–8pm (Jan, June–Sept & Dec), Tues–Fri 10am–8pm, Sat & Sun 10am–9pm.
Dolce & Gabbana
Via Pian dell’Isola 49, Località Santa Maria Maddalena t 055 833 1300; train to Rignano sull’Arno-Reggello, then taxi. This two-storey shed, a few kilometres north of Incisa Val d’Arno, is packed with clothes, accessories and household items from Dolce & Gabbana. Daily 10am–7.30pm.
Via Europa 8, Leccio Regello t 055 865 7775, w themall.it; SITA bus from Via Santa Caterina da Siena or shuttle bus from outside Santa Maria Novella station (2 daily). Outlets for Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta, Fendi, Marni, Salvatore Ferragamo, Sergio Rossi and Valentino, among others. Gucci is the dominant presence, with a huge range of bags, shoes and sunglasses. Daily 10am–7pm.
Levanella, Montevarchi t 055 91 901; train to Montevarchi, then taxi. On a small industrial estate in the Levanella district (on the SS69), this outlet is stacked with Prada clothes, as well as a selection from the Miu Miu diffusion label. Mon–Fri & Sun 10.30am–8pm, Sat 9.30am–8pm.