Space – Prada Outlet, Montevarchi, Tuscany, Italy

Q: What is it? A: The almost mythical factory outlet in Montevarchi in the heart of Tuscany.
Click HERE to get the details from my latest visit to Tuscany in June 2011. It’s worth it.

CLICK ON THIS TEXT FOR AN UPDATED ARTICLE ABOUT THE PRADA OUTLET!

Clicking here will bring you to a more recent post from the Space Prada Outlet!

Just what the picture is saying: Clicking here will bring you to a more recent post from the Space Prada Outlet – with updated driving directions and pictures from after the facelift!

The south-east corner of the Prada factory. Complete with 'Space' sign.

When you see this sign, you’re less than a minute away from the Prada outlet entrance.

* * * Road directions at the end of this post! * * *
* * UPDATE: Opening hours at the end of this post! * *

You know me. I’m certainly not an outlet guy.
This no-outlet-guy will now tell you about a rather special outlet. It’s never advertised. It’s rarely talked about. It’s a hidden gem that the fashionistas of this world would like to keep to themselves. And it’s a good enough excuse to go to Tuscany more often.

So what is it?
It’s the answer to the question ‘Where will Prada sell off the stuff from last season?’ I have only a vague idea of how much a Prada shirt would cost in a high street boutique, but I’m quite sure that the €65 I paid is a bargain indeed. People keep telling me that I’ve gotten away with 30-70% discounts. If so, that’s not bad at all.

The trick is to find it, as it will never, ever be advertised. It’s located in a very anonymous Prada factory building some 35 minutes away from Arezzo, Tuscany. It even comes with a non-descript name. For sure this is an intentional move. Outlets mix badly with the Prada name, so they decided to call the place ‘Space’. When you’ve arrived at the factory, there will be one small sign on the side of the road and one on the façade. That’s it.

The highly nondescript building that is the Prada factory. And the outlet.

A rather nondescript building, to say the least. All of you who could tell that luxury brand items are being manufactured inside, please raise your hand!

What does it look like?
After finding the building, driving along it, looking at gates monitored by TV-cameras, you enter a fenced area. There you’ll find an entrance with glass doors. It was obviously not designed for forklifts. Inside, there may or may not be a queue, as Prada only allows about 100 shoppers inside at the same time. So you walk in and, ta-daa! It looks very similar to Neiman Marcus!

The not so normal procedure of shopping here.
Smile ladies, a dropout from the Italian football team is handing out little tickets with numbers. Make sure that you hold on to that ticket as that is your PIN. When you find something interesting, you will be asked for you PIN and the merchandise will be taken away (of course you may try it on first). So you think that you and your walled have had enough? What now? You proceed to check-out and the items will be handed over to you. You then have the chance to pick what you actually do want to purchase. And then you pay. The system works surprisingly well. The staff in the store is superb; helpful, multi-lingual, and they know shapes and materials better than the people at Selfridges.

I’m being told that the citizens of Montevarchi are very familiar with the question ‘How to get to the Prada outlet?’ And I’ve also heard that it’s better to ask the man on the street rather than the merchants and shopkeepers of Montevarchi. Rumour is that a few of them are getting pissed; thinking that their business is suffering because of the outlet. The same rumour says that therefore merchants are sending tourists off in the wrong direction. Strange. I wonder if they are all selling Prada?

Bonus info: The Space outlet carries all of Prada’s lines and also some of the labels that the company have already sold. That means that you may find items from Miu Miu, Helmut Lang, Jil Sander, Carshoe and Church, (yes, the shoes), at Space.

– – – –

A little extra note: Over the years I’ve been asked a few things over and over again: Wow, do they have a website where you can see what’s in stock? Do they ship? Once again, this is an outlet. At ‘Space’ they sell only stuff that can not be sold elsewhere. Irregular items. Things that for some reason didn’t pass Prada’s ultra-strict quailty control and therefore can’t be sold with a premium pricetag. And no, they can not and will not tell what’s in store and they will never, ever ship anything anywhere. If they did, it would be the same thing as killing their brand and upsetting retailers all over the world.

– – – –

Lo Spaccio – SPACE
Via Levanella Becorpi
Località Levanella
S.S. 69 – 52025 Montevarchi (AR)
Italia

+39-055-978-94-81

CLICK ON THIS TEXT FOR AN UPDATED ARTICLE ABOUT THE PRADA OUTLET!

——————————-

UPDATE: OPENING HOURS
The good people at Prada just sent me an e-mail
with the opening and closing hours of the Levanella outlet:

– Monday through Friday: 10.30 AM – 8 PM (last entrance 7.30 PM)

– Saturday: 9.30 AM – 8 PM (last entrance 7.30 PM)

– Sunday: 10.30 AM – 8 PM (last entrance 7.30 PM)

– Closed on January 1st, Easter, August 15th and December 25th-26th.

– On December 24th and 31st there could be reduced opening hours.

Kind regards,
Prada Client Service

——————————-

The conveniently located Villa Sassolini, 9.5 km away from the outlet and the the Villa Fontelunga, some 51 km away from Levanella, Montevarchi, are both superb places to stay if you’re going to visit the Prada outlet.

Six steps to get to the Prada outlet, GPS or no GPS.
This will be quite long, I’m afraid, but it should get you there. Here we go:

1.
You drive on the A1, the Autostrada del Sole (Milan-Naples). Use viamichelin.com or Google Maps to pinpoint the Valdarno exit (there are good signs). No matter if you come from Firenze in the north or Arezzo in the south – you will get to a roundabout just after exiting the Autostrada. Take the first exit in the roundabout. It’s the Via Poggilupi (SP11).

2.
The Via Poggilupi will soon turn into the Strada Lungo l’Arno (still road number SP11). Turn right. For a brief moment the road will be named Strada della Penna (SP59). Then turn left on the Via dell’Olmo and then right again. Phew! You’re now back on the Strada Lungo l’Arno.

3.
Continue on the Strada Lungo l’Arno (SP11) for quite a while, we’re talking kilometres here. Yes, you’re going parallel with the Autostrada. You’ll pass an industrial area with some shops. Finally the Strada Lungo l’Arno takes you under the Autostrada. Turn right. A sign should say Montevarchi. Pass the river Fiume Arno. It will now change its name to Via Arno and you’re entering the town of Montevarchi.

4.
In the first major intersection (traffic light) you turn right. You’re now on Via Leona (SR69). In no time the Via Leona will change its name to Strada d’Arno (it’s still SR69 though). Continue on this road. It will turn slightly left. Pass underneath the railroad track, (now is when the aerial view below will come in handy…).

Aerial view of the Prada Levanella outlet store

5.
When you’ve passed the railroad track it’s time to pay attention! Don’t go too fast. On your right there will probably be a few trees and just next to them you will see a small sign with one word ‘Space’. This is the place where you turn right. Bingo. You’re almost there.

6.
You are now in an industrial area on the Via Levanella Becorpi. Take the first left. You’ll now see the factory building pictured in this post and the sign on the façade saying ‘Space Outlet’. Pass the main gate and follow the road as far as you can (there are a lot of parking spaces here). Park. The entrance is at the farther end. It should now be safe to follow the crowd. You’ve arrived. Unlock your plastic. It’s time to shop.

CLICK ON THIS TEXT FOR AN UPDATED ARTICLE ABOUT THE PRADA OUTLET!

24 comments

  1. Thank you! I think this is the first review that has actually talked about what type of merchandise that I can get. It is out of the way and I wanted to know if it would be worth the trip. The value of the euro vs usd is not so appealing!

    Thanks for the tip!
    wish me luck:)

    Reply
  2. I will be in florence the first week of april, I will love to go to Prada factory store. Please let me know the driving directions from Florence and from Lucca. thanks, PILAR

    Reply
  3. Hi Pilar,

    the secret is already in the first step of the driving directions above – although I used the Italian spelling of Florence – Firenze. From there, you take the A1, (toll road) to the south, (head towards Roma).

    44 km south of Florence, you take the exit towards VALDARNO, pay a toll of 2 EUR and then follow the remaining five steps.
    The total driving distance from Florence is 56 km.

    You may find my driving directions from Florence on http://shorl.com/bryprabuvapyty (this is an updated link I’ve made that will take you to ViaMichelin.com. NOTE: You may have to register first!).

    Hope this helps!

    :: h ::

    PS. From Lucca it’s the same, although you take the A11 / E76 towards Roma and then after 62 km you’ll head south, still towards Roma but now on A1.
    The driving distance to the VALDARNO exit is 117 km. Total driving distance from Lucca is 125 km.

    From Lucca you can expect to pay at toll of 5,90 EUR. (Tolls were accurate on February 20, 2009.)

    Reply
  4. Do you know how long the train ride from Florence is? And how to get there from Florence?

    Thanks…

    Reply
  5. Hi Lily,

    a little googling told me the following:

    “Train: Catch the train from Florence’s Santa Maria Novella Station to Montevarchi (one hour), and then travel by taxi, (approximately 20 minutes) to the outlet. There are times you will have to wait for a taxi because service can be sporadic.”

    Source: Click to read the article written April 7th 2009 by Kristi Gutierrez, SF World Travel Examiner

    Also, I found the timetable between Florence and Montevarchi on Trenitalia which is the primary train operator in Italy, owned by the Italian state. Click on English in the top of the page if your Italian is rusty. I then used the For passengers square.

    The

    After simply typing in Florence and Montevarchi I got the results on a page (below) from where you can continute directly to purchase the tickets.

    The timetable at trenitalia.com

    The timetable told me three things:
    1. In the daytime, train leaves from Florence to Montevarchi at least once every hour, possibly three times an hour.
    2. According to the timetable, the journey takes 59 minutes, (but if you are lucky to board the right train you you might get there in as little as 35).
    3. The price is between € 4,10 and € 6,20. (this is written April 10, 2009. Please use this only as a rough estimate as prices may change.)

    Have a nice trip!

    :: h ::

    Reply
  6. I remember i saw an website having a outlet shopping tour for around 30 euro. Will this be cheaper or going there on my own will be better? How much will the cab cost?

    Reply
  7. Was wondering who you e-mailed to get the opening hours of the outlet? I’m planning to go on a Wednesday and some websites say that it opens at 9:30AM, some says 10AM, and I guess the e-mail you received from them says they open at 10:30AM? Please let me know! Thanks.

    Reply
  8. @ porky:
    I’m sorry, but I have no idea what a cab may cost as I used a rental car to get to the outlets, (hence my detailed driving directions). In the link in my comment (5) above, Kristi Gutierrez outlines a few different ways to get to the Prada Outlet.

    I’m sorry not being able to give you a more detailed description, but I want to avoid posting any advice that I can’t verify myself (I feel more comfortable posting links to the Italian train company, owned by the state).

    @ koobabe:
    I didn’t e-mail Prada – to my surprise, they e-mailed me! I guess that they are tracking the development of this site, (which is constantly getting more and more hits – thank you all!) and I’ll keep the opening hours there until I get a new mail, (or if the info for one reason or another feels obsolete).

    All the best,

    :: hakan ::

    Reply
  9. I wonder if the products in Space Outlet is really good..
    I bought a Miu Miu Harlequin Leather Tote..I am a bit regret now..it seems that it is of a lower quality..while I saw the one in Boutique, the tag Miu Miu is in shiny gold, mine is in a fading copper color..but it still cost me a fortune to buy this inferior goods..

    Reply
  10. Hi, me and my frens are planning to visit Rome next week. Would u be able to tell me the directions if I were to drive from Rome airport to Montevarchi? Thank you so much =)

    Reply
  11. Hi Kay,

    I’m jealous. Tuscany this time of year should be wonderful! To find places I usually use the website ViaMichelin.com It has rarely failed me over the years.

    You didn’t mention whether you’d be landing at Lionardo da Vinci or Ciampino but it was just a matter of seconds to get the driving directions from both airports.

    If you’re landing at Aeroporto Roma-Fiumicino Lionardo da Vinci (Rome’s main international airport), CLICK HERE!

    If you’re landing at Aeroporto Roma-Ciampino, (used by most low cost airlines, including Ryanair), CLICK HERE!

    Yes, those are links, (I know, it’s kind of hard to see them). Hope this helps. When you’re getting to Montevarchi, just follow the driving directions above and you will soon be in Prada heaven!

    All the best,

    :: h ::

    Reply
  12. hi….
    it’s my very first time going to Milan next week…. and my friends have been telling me about the Prada Outlets @ Space..
    and i’, excited to go…. but how do i go there from Milan?…how long will it take me from Milan….?

    Reply
  13. Hi Jimmy,

    if you’re renting a car I’d suggest that you first visit ViaMichelin.
    According to that site, it will take you 3 hours and 29 minutes to drive the 349 km from Milan to Montevarchi (337 km of those are on very straight and very well kept motorways). I just typed in the starting point and the destination; if you’d like to do the same, the search is available at this link.

    All the best,

    :: h ::

    Reply
  14. We are travelling all the way from China to Italy next month for our honeymoon (it’s actually my shopping tour…lol) and will definitely go there and buy Prada bags!

    Thanks for the information and direction, we will probably take train from Florenze and taxi after that.

    Do you think 1day for The Mall and 1 day for SPACE will be enough??

    Reply
  15. Hello Nan,

    I’m glad that the info have been of use to you! Since you’re on a shopping tour, I can only assume that you are more into bags and shoes and dresses than the average person… so, with that in mind, I think you will enjoy these outlets.

    – Considered the size of the store, I’d say that one day at SPACE will probably be more than enough. As this is a factory outlet, I am not aware of how and when new items arrive to the store. This is not a huge place.

    – The Mall is a different matter, as it consists of 22 stores. At the time of writing this, these brands were represented:

    • Alexander McQueen
    • Armani Jeans
    • Balenciaga
    • Bottega Veneta
    • Burberry
    • Dior
    • Ermenegildo Zegna
    • Fendi
    • Giorgio Armani
    • Gucci
    • Hogan
    • I Pinco Pallino
    • Loro Piana
    • Marni
    • Pucci
    • Roberto Cavalli
    • Salvatore Ferragamo
    • Sergio Rossi
    • Stella McCartney
    • Tod’s
    • Valentino
    • Yves Saint Laurent

    So, I guess it depends on whether you’re interested in two of them, or all 22 [insert smiley here!]. But my gut feeling is that you will spend almost a full day there [another smiley here].

    All the best,

    :: h ::

    Reply
  16. Thanks for your information.

    Reply
  17. Hi, May i know how far from the SPACE OUTLET to THE MALL?

    Thank you. :)

    Reply
    • Hi Abby,
      it’s 35 km from the Space Prada Outlet to The Mall. According to the site viamichelin.com, it will take 35 minutes to drive between these locations.
      Follow this link, and you’ll get an idea of the route: http://bit.ly/pKj0X1

      All the best,

      :: h ::

      Reply
  18. hi, thanks for blog. please let me know if you know of Blumarine factory outlet too? maybe some others as well, valentino etc?
    thanks

    Reply
  19. Hello snezana,

    as I begin this post: I’m certainly not an outlet guy.
    I visited the Space Prada Outlet a second time in June 2011, which resulted in this post:
    http://www.guidebook.se/archives/1174

    I also payed a visit to The Mall with its 22 different brands represented, (Gucci, Armani, Zegna, Fendi etc.), after which I wrote this post:
    http://www.guidebook.se/archives/1539

    I’m aware of the fact that there are more outlets in the region, and also a few around Milan, most notably the Serravalle, with some 120 stores. But again I’m sorry to say that I’m not an outlet expert, so I guess that you’ll get more accurate tips by googling the subject, like this:
    http://bit.ly/sPSzBI

    All the best and happy shopping,

    :: h ::

    Reply
  20. Hi,

    I will go there from Rome for 1 day trip on sunday, and suggestion for the transportation?

    Reply
  21. Hi Anne,

    I haven’t made the trip from Rome to Montevarchi myself, (as I’ve only used rental car to get there), but I would expect going there by train being the most convenient option.

    I found this thread quite useful – it contains all the right links to the Italian train service + some more useful info:

    http://www.fodors.com/community/europe/getting-from-rome-to-montevarchi-.cfm

    Hope it helps!

    :: h ::

    Reply
  22. Hi,
    how much do you think it would cost to go to Prada outlet than to the Mall from Florence, by taxi??
    tks a lot

    Reply
  23. Hi Fernanda,

    this is a very tricky question, (not sure that I should even make an attempt to answer it) and you will not really get a simple and straight answer from me as I always went to these outlets by rental car.

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    Some vital facts:

    • The distance from Florence (Firenze, Tuscany) to the Prada Mall is 57 km (mostly on motorway).

    • For taxis, the starting rate in daytime is € 3,20, for a night trip (from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.): € 6,40 and for Sunday/holidays trip: € 5,10. Then there’s a luggage charge (max 4 pieces): € 1 per piece.

    • The major taxi company in Florence is So.Co.Ta.
    http://www.socota.it/eng

    • There’s a 35 km drive between the Space Prada outlet and The Mall.

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    If your intention is to go to the Prada outlet AND to The Mall by taxi, I would suggest calling or e-mailing the taxi company, telling them about your plans and ask them for a quote.

    And I would suggest that you ask for a price going there and back, as getting a new cab from these malls could be very frustrating. I’ve heard about people spending many times waiting for a cab at these malls (the tows they’re located nearby are quite small and taxi services are therefore limited).
    Sorry to say, it’s quite impossible to give you a straight up idea of what to pay.

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    There are outlet tours that typically use shuttle vans or large sedans to take shoppers to from and between malls. If interested in such an option, I would suggest contacting a company like this:

    http://www.tuscanyoutlets.com/tours/full-shopping/full-shopping-tours.htm

    Sorry for a long and not-so-simple answer, but this is the best I can offer, as when in Italy I’m normally doing the driving myself.

    All the best,

    :: h ::

    Reply

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