Q: What is it? A: An outlet village with 22 rather exclusive brands. Gucci, Armani, Fendi, Stella McCartney… If you have the time to spend in those stores, there may be some bargains for you.
”Oh, they enlarged the parking space.”
It’s precisely three years after my first visit. The Mall is getting less and less hidden, less and less a mystery for travellers. It’s also less mythical than the Space Prada Outlet in Montevarchi. Maybe it’s because it looks a lot like an outlet is supposed to look?
Still, a GPS from Hertz can not find the address. Still, when checking some interactive maps, it is strangely missing. But a simple search on Google Maps shows that the street view was updated not too long ago. Also, going to The Mall is a little bit of a lottery compared to the Prada outlet. Here, you never really know what to find. Don’t let that put you off, though. In my opinion, The Mall is worth a visit, (and I’m certainly not an outlet guy).
Twenty-two brands. Whoa.
It’s quite a collection of brands. In fact, very few department stores will carry all these luxury labels. But it requires a little bit of browsing. It’s impossible to not again compare it with the Space Prada Outlet. Finding three shirts in my size took me less than 15 minutes at Space, where members of the pretty motivated staff helped me finding the item I fancied in the same colour but in size 42 instead. In the Armani store at The Mall, I am on my own. When asking about different sizes a gorgeous young woman replies “It’s stuff you see on hangers”. Gorgeous or not, she clearly doesn’t care whether I’m a customer or a salmon. Thanks a lot, dear.
My advice: Ignore the ignorant staff…
Prepare for being treated like a problem and to spend more time than you’d expect in a fitting room, and you may find that there are bargains to be made. I walk out with a grey suit from Armani Collezioni, my card oozing from being charged EUR 395. After checking online I think it was quite a steal. On the high street, a suit from the same label comes with a EUR 1300 price tag. An Armani Collezioni shirt is mine for EUR 85, which seem to be exactly 50% off the suggested retail price. Now y’all know why I will look like a million bucks this fall.
A mixed review, huh?
The Mall has its ups and downs. It should be mentioned that not all the stores will give you any great offers. Some places have this year’s collection on display with the usual hefty price tag. It’s an outlet yes, but everything at The Mall is not outlet-y. Just arrive with realistic expectations and chances are that you will leave with the feeling that it wasn’t a waste of time after all.
The above was written by a male, age 44. Those of you worshipping selected brands of handbags may have a completely different opinion.
Via Europa 8
Regular opening Hours: Monday-Sunday 10.00 AM — 7.00 PM.
SPECIAL OPENING HOURS 2011:
Aug 15:10.00 AM — 7.00 PM
Oct 29-31: 10.00 AM — 8.00 PM
Nov 1: 10.00 AM — 7.00 PM
December 8-10: 10.00 AM — 8.00 PM
December 24: 10.00 AM — 4.00 PM
December 24: 10.00 AM — 4.00 PM
December 25-26: CLOSED
December 31: 10.00 AM — 2.00 PM
If you drive there on your own, you may find that the GPS will not recognize the address (mine didn’t, thanks so much, Hertz). Don’t panic. It’s way much easier to find The Mall compared to the Space Prada outlet. Still, I find it a bit odd that the address is missing as The Mall opened on August 4, 2001. Does it has the same status as a military installations on Google Earth?
Make sure that you’re on A1 (E35), the Autostrada del Sole. It doesn’t matter if you’re coming from the north (Milan/Florence) or from the south (Rome), the exit to look for is marked Incisa. You’ll find this exit about 29 km south of Florence.
Take the road on the right (SS69) towards Pontassieve. This road, the Via Aretina, starts with a short serpentine climb uphill and downhill. Follow this road (it’s still called SS69) until reaching Leccio.
Continue through Leccio. Most of this little town will be on your right. Yes, it’s a small place, so don’t drive too fast. There will be signs for The Mall and these days the roundabout is impossible to miss. That roundabout is your key. That’s The Mall on your left. No, not the white building with the Diesel Jeans logo on it. Go down the hill and pick any of the three car parks. There are The Mall-logos everywhere. Good. You’re there. Congrats! Now, shop ’til you drop..
FINAL NOTE: I first visited The Mall in July 2008. I had only written driving directions and when checking the roundabout where you get off the SS69 was not found in any maps, (although I promise you, it was there the first time). Since then, I’ve checked both maps and satellite images numerous times, but they have been quite slow on updates. I found it even more confusing when The Mall was marked on the maps as a name, but with no buildings visible. Just now, around my 2nd visit, I realized that things have changed. I leave you with this image from Google’s street view, which means that it must exist after all…