Florence, is a beautiful and romantic Italian city with incredible art and architecture masterpieces by renowned artists. Besides admiring these masterpieces, shopping in Florence is also attractive, especially for non-EU visitors who are eligible for sales (VAT) tax refund for their purchases.
For luxurious brand lovers, you would be delighted to know that many of the top brands are made in Italy where you can get the latest designs or products at a steal. Many of us love outlets because we will be able to buy off-season products at a bargain.
One of the outlets that Prada and Miu Miu brand lovers must visit is The Space, located at Montevarchi. If you wish to continue your shopping spree, you can visit another nearby outlet known as The Mall, which offers a wider variety of luxury brands.
Enjoy a train ride to Montevarchi
To get to the Prada (Space) outlet, take a Trenitalia train on the Florence-Rome line and get off at Montevarchi. Once you arrive at Montevarchi-Terranuova station, you will spot 1 or 2 taxis which will take you to The Space. You can share the taxi with several passengers for 3 EUR (3.40 USD) each or pay 12 EUR (13.60 USD) for the entire taxi to yourself.
Do note that there are only 3-4 taxis operating in town that will take you to The Space. If you do not see any taxi outside the station, stay there and wait because there are no taxis along the road. The ride will take around 10 minutes and you will be welcomed by a black low-rise building with the sign “Space Outlet”.
Remember to get a queue number
The Space is open daily from 10.30 am to 8.00 pm except for Saturday where it is open from 9.30 am to 8.00 pm. Do note that the last entrance is at 7.30 pm as you are expected to spend at least 2 hours inside if you are intending to purchase something.
Upon arrival, you have to obtain a queue ticket from the machine outside the entrance. At each time, the store will only allow 200 customers to be inside. However, do note that the queue number does not warrant you to enter first because those who arrive later and start first in the queue are able to get in first so long as they are within the first 200 customers.
If you really want to be the first to enter, you can start at the entrance to secure your spot but frankly speaking, there is no need to do so.
Go wild in the store
The store consists of 2 sections: the left side carries men’s products such as bags, leather goods, shoes, clothes etc, and the right side (which is much larger) is the ladies’ section. Once the store opens, you will spot some, especially young ladies, dashing towards the handbag section. In the ladies’ side, the handbags are neatly arranged on the shelves and small leather goods can be found in drawers.
Once you have decided on your selection, speak to the staff so that they can get you a new piece. You have to show your queue number to them because the new pieces will be handed over to the cash counter for payment. Hence, do decide on your final pieces before asking.
There is also small corner for Miu Miu items. The selection is generally smaller compared to Prada, but there are still many handbags and small leather goods to choose from. Further down the store you will find shoes and clothes. The collection of shoes is pretty large and the staff can help you with the sizes for trying on shoes you are interested in. However, some common sizes are sold out pretty fast, so do not be disappointed if you cannot find your size.
Prices at the outlet are generally much cheaper than the main stores but do not expect prices below 100 EUR for a handbag. The average price will be about 1/3 of the original prices, so you can get a leather handbag for around 500 EUR (568 USD) at the outlet or around 150 EUR (170 USD) for a leather wallet. Overall, the savings at the outlet are significant!
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Chill at The Space Cafe
Customers can arrive as early as 8.30 am, so once you’ve arrived, you go get a queue number and hop over to the Space Café for your breakfast. The Space Café opens as early as 8 am, so you can grab some good coffee and bread while waiting for the store to open. The café will start getting crowded by 9.30 am as the crowds start flocking in. You may even observe that a queue is starting to form outside the store an hour or so before the opening time!
The Space Cafe is also a good place to rest your feet for lunch.
Maximise your luggage space?
Since this is an outlet store, it does not provide the usual Prada paper bags for your purchase. Instead, you will have your purchase placed into black paper bags labelled SPACE. At the taxi stand, it is not uncommon to see some people discarding the paper bags and the shoe boxes while they squeeze all their purchases into a bag or their luggage. I guess they need to maximize the space in their luggage for more shopping sprees!
Move on to the next outlet
If you are not satisfied with only Prada and Miu Miu products, you can head to The Mall which is about a 30 minute drive away. To book a taxi there, do note that a one way trip from The Space to The Mall will cost around 70 EUR (79 USD), and the taxi can take up to 4 passengers. If you want a cheaper alternative, you can take the taxi back to Montevarchi train station and take to the closest station to the Mall before taking another taxi, although this may be time consuming.
There is also a Prada boutique at The Mall and there are various luxurious brands such as Gucci, Burberry, Bottega Veneta and many more. They are open daily from 10 am to 7 pm and you can check the list of stores on the official website. The Mall offers a shuttle bus service from Florence at 7 EUR 8 USD) for a one way trip and 13 EUR (14.80 USD) for return trip. The train station is just opposite the alighting point in Florence, so you can continue your journey from there.
Not to be missed for Prada and Miu Miu Lovers
The Space is an outlet not to be missed for fans of Prada and Miu Miu. If you are not concerned about having the latest design on the market, there is a great selection for you at The Space. Do not walk into the store with one style in mind, because they might not have exactly what you are looking for. Walk in considering that you want a red leather bag and you will be surrounded with choices! Most customers walking out from the store have at least 2 big paper bags in hand, so we can just guess the amount of loot in there! After that, continue your spree at The Mall!
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