Italians love a good discount on top designer clothing. The best place to find them? At these outlets in Tuscany, Piedmont, Lombardy, and Umbria.
Italians are famous across the globe for their impeccable sense of style and unstudied elegance. They have a gift for seamlessly blending the trend of the moment with timeless classics, pairing the perfect scarf with knock-out shoes or a formal blazer with carefully distressed denim.
Part of this national attention to fashion is due to the cultural importance in Italy of the “bella figura:” essentially, the art of making a good impression. The other part is, of course, access to some of the most famous and iconic designers in the world.
This doesn’t mean that Italians pay retail for Armani and Gucci, however. Instead, they tend to be avid discount shoppers, hunting down deals on designer clothing and accessories at boutiques during Italy’s two annual sale seasons, or all year round at a number of designer outlets and outlet centers that have opened over the past two decades.
A few tips before you go:
- Outlet shopping is relatively new in Italy, so finding these stores or malls can involve a bit of detective work.
- Factory stores or mono-brand outlets are usually small- to medium-sized and can be browsed in an hour or two; outlet centers often have more than 100 individual stores and may take half a day to peruse.
- Some outlet stores are dedicated to mid-level and sportswear brands, but most carry high-end and luxury brands, which can be expensive even with steep discounts.
- Many outlets are located in the countryside outside the city center, so you can easily combine retail therapy with a tasting in the nearby wineries in a single outing.
To recreate that Italian je ne sais quoi without breaking the bank, consider exploring these temples of Italian taste (and frugality).
The best places for outlet shopping in Italy
This popular outlet store is unique in two ways: its central location in downtown Milan and its stock of the most famous luxury labels under one roof, including Dolce & Gabbana, Armani, Prada, Versace, Gucci, and Moschino. You’ll have to go toe-to-toe with Milan’s famously determined fashionistas to snag the best bargains, but your polite tussle with be worth it when you come home with a one-of-a-kind find.
Via F.lli Bronzetti, 16 – 20129 Milan (MI)
Franciacorta Outlet Village
Franciacorta Outlet Village has over 150 mono-brand shops selling mid-level and sportswear brands like Pinko, Pollini, Beretta, and Twin-Set. An hour from Milan in Franciacorta wine country, this outlet center and the popular Valdichiana outlet center in Tuscany (more info below) are part of the same group.
Franciacorta Outlet Village
Piazza Cascina Moie, 1 – 25050 Rodengo-Saiano (BS)
The large Armani outlet is about 45 minutes outside Milan near Lake Como, and it’s one of the few mono-brand factory stores near the city. Conveniently located for anyone traveling from Milan to the lake or Venice, the store is stocked with the Armani Jeans, Emporio Armani, and Collezione Armani lines. The staff is known to be less than helpful, and there is no tailoring service, but with a bit of patience and luck, intrepid shoppers can find great bargains.
Armani Factory Outlet
Via Provinciale per Bregnano, 13 – 22070 – Vertemate Con Minoprio (CO)
Stop in at the historic Castello di Cigognola winery for a tour and tasting, capping off a perfect day trip outside Milan. Castello di Cigognola is just an hour’s drive south of Salvagente in the city center.
Serravalle Designer Outlet
This was one of Italy’s first outlet villages to open and is the largest in Europe, with 300 shops carrying sportswear brands like Guess, Blumarine, and Jeckerson. Located an hour outside of both Turin and Milan, Serravalle is one of a chain of outlet centers including “Noventa di Piave” near Venice and “Barberino” near Florence.
Serravalle Designer Outlet
Via della Moda, 1 – 15069 Serravalle Scrivia (AL)
Don’t linger so long at Serravalle that you miss sampling Piedmont’s unforgettable wines from the many wineries dotting the countryside. The outlet is less than 15 minutes away from Villa Sparina, a winery and resort in Gavi that makes a fantastic white wine from cortese, Gavi di Gavi DOCG.
Lombardy and Piedmont are known for their large outlet centers, but Tuscany has wonderful mono-brand factory stores. One of the few exceptions is The Mall, with over 100 boutiques featuring designer labels like Valentino, Fendi, Armani, Ferragamo, and Gucci. The Mall is about 30 minutes from Florence and near the three excellent mono-brand factory stores (see below).
Via Europa, 8 – 50066 Leccio Reggello (FI)
Valdichiana Outlet Village is part of a chain of outlet centers in Italy. It’s perfectly located for travelers in southern Tuscany or northern Umbria who are interested in sportswear and housewares.
Valdichiana Outlet Village
Via Enzo Ferrari, 5 – 52045 Foiano della Chiana (AR)
Space Factory Outlet might be the most popular outlet in Italy. It carries all the Prada lines: Prada, Miu Miu, Helmut Lang, Prada Sport and Church. Located about an hour outside of Florence, Space is hit-and-miss: sometimes you will find a wide variety of stock, sizes, and prices, and sometimes you will find the store almost picked clean.
Space Factory Outlet
52025 Montevarchi, Province of Arezzo
This Fendi factory store about half an hour outside of Florence carries clothing, accessories, and bags from the Fendi house.
Fendi factory store
Via Pian dell’Isola 66/33 – 50067 Rignano sull’Arno, Reggello (FI)
Dolce & Gabbana
Near The Mall and Prada, this popular outlet has two levels of clothing, shoes, and accessories from past collections, seconds, and samples.
Dolce & Gabbana outlet
Via S. Maddalena 49, – 50064 Pian dell’Isola Rignano sull’Arno (FI)
Tuscany is synonymous with wine for aficionados across the globe, beloved for its historic Brunello, Vino Nobile di Montepuliciano, Chianti Classico, and Morellino di Scansano. The upstart Super Tuscans – also known as Bolgheri– combine tradition and innovation and are not to be overlooked. Sample these and other Tuscan labels at Altesino (less than 1 hour from Valdichiana Outlet), Fattoria Le Pupille, and Sapaio.
The most famous luxury label from Umbria is headquartered in Solomeo, a completely restored Medieval hilltown near Perugia. The small factory outlet in the town square carries their designer cashmere line for women and men.
Piazza Carlo Alberto dalla Chiesa, 6 – 06073 Solomeo (PG)
Looking out over the surrounding lush hills from Solomeo, you’ll understand why the region of Umbria is known as “Italy’s green heart.” From this heartland hail some excellent wines, including Sagrantino, Orvieto Classico, and Torgiano reds and whites. Slow down to match the pace of this sleepy region and linger over your tasting at Falesco, located a little over an hour south of Cucinelli through lush, green hills of vineyards and forest.