<span style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: " mso-bidi-language:="" mso-fareast-language:="" mso-ansi-language:="" mso-bidi-font-family:="" mso-fareast-font-family:="" 12.0pt;="" mso-bidi-font-size:="" trebuchet="" ms?;="" ?times="" new="" roman?;="" en-us;="" ar-sa?="">The concept couldn't be simpler. Italy's premiere fashion houses offer last-seasons hottest merchandise for a fraction of the price at hard-to-get-to countryside location. The Mall is located along a picturesque rural highway 35-minutes drive from Florence, just long enough to prevent real competition to the high-end fashion outlets along Via dei Tornabuoni (Florence's smartest shopping street). Don't expect hip stores or cutting-edge architecture, just serious Italians and Japanese blowing through racks and shelves in search of designer-bounty. </span>
For those in need of further retail therapy, the Prada outlet (Localita' SS Levanella, Montevarchi) is about 30-minutes further out. The queues to pay can be quite long, often so busy with busloads of Japanese shoppers that you have to take a ticket to enter. Be prepared.
Perhaps it should just be called heaven, at least for the designer-divas that trek around the world to shop its American-style shopping mall with bargain boutiques of Italyâ€™s premiere fashion houses. Gucci, Giorgio Armani and Yves Saint Laurent are next to one another with Bottega Veneta and a quirky cafĂ© called Dot.com in a neighboring building. When we visited, Bottega Veneta had the best deals on handbags and leather goods, while Salvatore Ferragamo and Gucci featured the most selection of clothing merchandise. Marni, Valentino and Yohji Yamamoto offer smaller selections, but with the perk of being one of the labelâ€™s few discount outlets.