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 .
Every time I sit to write about Florence I get overwhelmed because I don’t know where to start. There are so many places to see, restaurants to eat at and things to do it is hard for me to narrow it down. So I thought, one of the first things that visitors need is a place to stay, and like any city Florence has its share of accommodations. I have stayed at several three star hotels and found them to be adequate, the rooms were clean, there were decent breakfasts offered and the locations were fine. Then my husband and I stayed at the Antica Torre di via Tournabouni and nothing else compared. When we first stayed at this hotel it had a three star rating but it now has a four star rating which in essence means the cost is higher but if you can swing it, the cost is worth it. For starters, the location is outstanding. The hotel is steps from the Arno and across the street from Salvatore Ferragamo’s store. The rooms are spacious and the bathrooms large. My husband is on the taller side with broad shoulders and for anyone who has stayed in an Italian room with the shower stall you can understand his frustration when his shoulder hits the faucet and he is scorched with scalding hot water. You will not have this problem at Antica Torre. For those who like to start their day with a larger breakfast, they offer a nice buffet with a varied selection of muffins, cakes, frittata, rolls, cheese, meat, etc. The best part is you get to enjoy this lovely breakfast on a terrace overlooking the Duomo, even if the weather is inclement or it is cold there is a windowed indoor breakfast room so you can still enjoy the view. If you have a chance and want to take a break in the afternoon, there is another terrace that overlooks the Arno, or take your morning coffee and enjoy watching the rowers on the river in the morning. One thing to note, if you arrive later in the evening/night you have to ring the bell so that the staff can open the door for you (let them know in advance you will be arriving later). It is a difficult door to see at night but do not be concerned, once inside you will be glad you opted for this hotel.
The website for Antica Torre is: http://www.tornabuoni1.com/site/en/residence.php
Posted in Uncategorized and tagged Florence Italy, Italian hotels, TuscanyAntica Torre di via Tournabouni by TheTuscanContessa with .