As mentioned in a previous post, during our trip to Florence, my husband and I ventured out to the Prada outlet to do some shopping. Since information on the outlet is scarce, I thought I'd share my experience as well as tips for how to get there, shop it, and why you should!
What is it?
The Prada outlet (known as SPACE) is a very large store in Montevarchi (a town outside of Florence) that houses past season or slightly damaged goods from Prada and Miu Miu at highly discounted prices. At the store you can find purses, wallets, accessories, clothing, and shoes for women, men, and even kids. If you are a fan of Prada, you'll be like a kid in a candy store!
When to go?
If possible, head to the outlet on a weekday and avoid the summer tourist season when the store can get crowded and lines are long. We went on a Monday morning in mid-October and found it to be a tad crowded, but there was no line at all. My main tip would be to get there when the store opens or a little beforehand - there's even an attached cafe where you can grab a coffee or snack while you wait!
How to get there?
Prior to leaving Florence, be sure to have at least 30 or so euros in cash on hand to pay for taxis and additional money if you'll be paying for the train tickets in cash.
Getting to SPACE is a little tricky, unless you're familiar with the Italian train system! To get there from Florence, you'll need to take about a one hour train ride to Montevarchi. To do so, head to the Santa Maria Novella train station (the main train station in Florence) and, using one of the automated kiosks, purchase a one-way train ticket to Montevarchi (ours cost 5.90 euros each).
With ticket in hand, check the monitors (look up!) to see which platform your train will depart from and head there (don't be afraid to ask a station employee for help and/or confirmation - we did!). Prior to boarding your train, validate your ticket at one of the green machines (once validated the ticket is good for six hours). Then board the train!
Depart the train at the Montevarchi station and take a cab to the outlet - there will be at least one or two taxis waiting outside. One way for up to four people costs 12 euros, so definitely share a cab with others to spend less! Just tell them you'd like to go to the Prada outlet and they'll know exactly where to take you.
When the taxi drops you off either let the driver know what exactly what time you'd like to be picked up, or, if you have a phone, grab their card and give them a call when you're done. Otherwise you could be stranded there a while!
Santa Maria Novella train station address: Via Luigi Alamanni, 2, Firenze, Italy
Prada (SPACE) outlet address and hours: Via Levanella Becorpi, Localita Levanella, S.S. 69, Montevarchi, Italy; Weekdays 10:30 am to 7:00 pm, Saturdays 9:30 am to 7:00 pm, Sundays 2:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Taxi contact info: Nino Taxi, +39 335 39 81 27
To get back to Florence, purchase a ticket at the kiosk at the Montevarchi station, validate it at the green machine, check the platform and board! On the day we went, trains seemed to leave every hour or so, but you can always check the timetables prior to leaving the station upon arrival in Montevarchi.
How to shop it?
When you arrive at Space, you'll enter through a gate and see the store entrance to the right (glass doors) and a coffee shop (with orange chairs) to the left. Between the two is a metal stand where you should head first. Press the button and get a ticket with a number.
To ensure a pleasant shopping experience, only a certain number of customers are allowed in the store at once. A sign above the entrance will indicate what numbers can enter, so the earlier you get your number, the earlier you can enter the store!
On the day we went, there weren't too many customers, so everyone was let in upon the store opening. On busier days, you may need to wait in line.
When you enter the store, you'll find men's items and sunglasses to the left and purses, accessories, shoes, clothes, and kids items to the right. I'd recommend having an idea of what you'd to buy and head to that section first.
If you want to purchase an item, hand it to one of the sales associates and show them your number (the one you got prior to entering the store) and they'll hold the item in the back. When you're ready to check out, head to the counter, hand them your number and all your items will be brought out!
Is it worth it?
Yes! If you are a fan of Prada, fashion, or even just a good bargain, you'll love this store! Even if you don't end up buying anything, it's fun to see all the beautifully made clothing and bags up close.
I did end up purchasing the handbag seen in the photo above (and love it!). It's from a previous season (though it looks like this one and this one) and was reduced by over 1,000 euros off it's original price!
Another reason I enjoyed the outlet is because I like to associate my big purchases with special memories. When I carry this bag, I'll be reminded of our time in Florence and the fun we had navigating the trains to get to Montevarchi. All in all, a fun day and a pretty new Prada in my closet!
Whew! That was a lot of information, but hopefully it's helpful if you head to SPACE!
Until next time,