While you may be going to Italy to see the historic sites, museums, churches, magnificent architecture or beautiful countryside don’t forget to visit some of the shops. Yes, the Euro right now makes shopping less attractive but there are deals to be found and shops that you don’t find in the US that you may want to visit. I found that you can find deals the outlets in Italy, perhaps even better deals then what can be found in the US. If in the Tuscan region, then I highly recommend stopping by the Prada outlet in Montevarchi, which is south of Florence. It is off the beaten path so you have to plan on going you will not just stumble across it. I have only gone by car but if you don’t have a car then you can take public transportation. If you do drive, be aware that the outlet itself is in a Corporate Park and it is very easy to pass by. All the locals know where it is so don’t be afraid to stop and ask and they will point you in the right direction. However, once you get there, it is worth the trouble of finding. There are many shoes both Prada and Miu Miu and you are bound to find at least one pair in the needed size. Also, you can shop for clothes, jewelry, bags, hats, gloves and sunglasses and more. I found the staff to be friendly and you can request the VAT exemption which you later have to collect at the airport (this is more trouble than it is worth because they actually want to see the physical items you purchased, which is fine if it is small but if you have a lot then it could be a hassle). There are a couple other outlets in the Tuscan area and some such as the one in Reggello are closer to Florence but I have not been there so I can’t comment. If anyone visits any of the other Prada outlets I would love to hear about the experience otherwise I hope to get to them on a future visit. For the hours and location of all the Prada outlets visit their website at http://www.prada.com/en?cc=US#!/store-locator?cc=US. You can find plenty of articles about the outlets by doing a simple search and there are even tours that you can take, but if you are like me you don’t want to be on someone else’s timeframe for shopping, if there are items I like I want to take my time, if there is nothing for me then I want to be on my way.
Note: If you plan on travelling between Florence and the Southern Tuscan Region (Montalcino or Montepulciano for example) then it is worth detouring during this trek of your trip. The Montevarchi outlet is not far off the Autostrada.
Posted in Uncategorized and tagged Florence Italy, Italy, prada, shopping, Tuscany by TheTuscanContessa with .
Albergo La Terrazza di Montepulciano in the Tuscan region of Italy is a place not to be missed and it is worth staying a few days. Not only does this town offer excellent restaurants and places for wine tasting, it is an excellent spot to visit other towns (i.e. Pienza, Montalcino, Sienna, etc). I have already posted about some of the restaurants in Montepulciano and this article is dedicated to Albergo La Terrazza di Montepulciano, a hotel located in the heart of this very special place.
La Terrazza is an unassuming place and when you go to the website you may be hesitant when you see that is a 2 star hotel…do not let this dissuade you. Besides the excellent location, the proprietors Roberto and his wife Victoria are so hospitable and friendly. You will start your day with a free continental breakfast, usually Roberto has croissants, yogurt, some fruit, bread with butter and jellies and as many espressos and cappuccinos as you like. It is not overdone but it is more than enough to get you through the morning and if the weather is nice there is nothing better than enjoying the breakfast on the outside terrace. Roberto will speak to you in a combination of Italian and English and will go out of his way to assist you in planning your day or accommodating you in any way he can. You will notice as you go to the breakfast room that there is a bar area filled with wines, if you like you can purchase a bottle and enjoy a glass; we spent one evening outside on the patio drinking wine and talking with Roberto and two other guests of the hotel, it was wonderfully relaxing and a great way to end the evening, I felt like I was at home with friends. While the rooms are tasteful, they are not fancy and you have what you need (bed, dresser, etc). However, the nice thing is the rooms are large and you will not feel cramped. They have private bathrooms which are a good size, though like in many hotels the shower stall can be small depending on the room. Some rooms offer more than one area and can accommodate a family which is nice if you are travelling with children. Another thing that I like about La Terrazza is it is quit (Roberto has expanded the hotel and there are some new rooms on the main street, I have not stayed in those so they may be subject to more of the street noise then those in the older part of the hotel).
As I mentioned before La Terraza is located in a convenient part of Montepulciano, within the historic district. All you have to do is go out of the back entrance and you are on one of the main streets with restaurants and shops. If you go out of the front entrance you are around the corner from the Piazza Grande where there are even more restaurants located off the side streets. You have to be careful when booking in Montepulciano as if the hotel is not in the historic district you may be outside of the walls and not within walking distance of the all the historic district has to offer.
Finally, La Terrazza offers free parking, which may not sound like a big deal but in a town where parking is limited this is a huge amenity.
One thing to note is that La Terrazza is not the easiest hotel to find. If you are having problems call Roberto and he will come and show you the way. The website for the hotel is:
Posted in Uncategorized by TheTuscanContessa with .