This is The Mall. Or is it? The Hertz Neverlost system failed me. In fact most interactive map systems failed me. At the time of writing, I only managed to find the address Via Europa 8 and the roundabout at Multimap.com (notations with white arrows in the map are mine).
This is not a hidden place.
This is not an undercover location such as the Space Outlet for Prada. The Mall looks like one of those upgraded outlet villages that you could find just about anywhere, in any… Sorry, I take that back. The Mall looks slightly more elegant.
The difference is that most of the brands represented at this mall have manufacturing facilities or warehouses in the area. As I understood it, the things on display were mostly last year’s collection, but hey, you are probably not Beyoncé, so you may just get away with it, right?
Myself? Thanks to the very helpful staff at the Armani store, I left The Mall with a black Armani Collezioni suit, that was €365. Probably less than half the price compared to the high street.
You don’t even have to be a Gucci-person to shop here.
It’s a little bit like letting a Bloomingdale’s land in the Italian countryside. And it’s not just Gucci. The Mall now hosts outlets for Alexander McQueen, Armani Jeans, Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta, Burberry, Dior, Ermenegildo Zegna, Fendi, Giorgio Armani, Hogan, I Pinco Pallino, Loro Piana, Marni, Pucci, Roberto Cavalli, Salvatore Ferragamo, Sergio Rossi, Stella McCartney, Tod’s, Valentino and Yves Saint Laurent. Plans exist for an expansion and there’s plenty of surrounding space for that.
It’s only about 25 minutes away from the Prada outlet.
Some say these outlets is THE reason to go to Tuscany. I’d say they’re a less an expensive way to make your closet look a bit more expensive. And if you’re driving in the region, they are definitely worth a visit. I mean, we all need a new suit or a new handbag, don’t we?
Via Europa 8
Regular opening Hours: Monday-Sunday 10.00 AM — 7.00 PM.
SPECIAL OPENING HOURS 2011:
April 22-23: 10.00 AM — 8.00 PM
April 24-25: CLOSED
May 1: CLOSED
Jun 2-4: 10.00 AM — 8.00 PM
Jul 7-9: 10.00 AM — 8.00 PM
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 Space, the Prada outlet. Still, I find it a bit odd that the address is missing as The Mall opened on August 4, 2001. Maybe it has the same status as those military installations on Google Earth? Stuff that isn’t supposed to exist will be blurred or it won’t be there at all…
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. This exit is 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 the SS69) until reaching Leccio.
Continue straight through Leccio. Most of this little town will be on your right and yes, it’s very little, don’t drive too fast. There will be signs for The Mall and the little roundabout should slow you down. That roundabout is your key. That’s The Mall on your left. No, not the white building with the Diesel Jeans logo, go down the hill and pick any of the three car parks. There are The Mall-logos everywhere. Good. You’re there. Shop ’til you drop..
Note: When this was written (July 2008), the little roundabout was not found in maps, (I promise you, it did and it does exist). Two years later (August 2010) the roundabout may or may not be visible in maps but the maps/satellite images haven’t been updated! The Mall may even be marked on the map as a name, but no buildings are visible. Strange.