By Rosanna Sumera, MA 2014-15
Who doesn’t love shopping? Many will admit to standing outside the Louis Vuitton and Prada window displays with secret desires to purchase every item in stock. That being said, unfortunately at every turn in Florence there are luxury brand stores clearly out of any student’s budget.
Does that mean we are left to only shop at budget stores like OVS and H&M? What if you want something a little bit different than your friends? A little bit more unique to your personal style? If you love designer brands, and are looking for that special statement accessory or simply love wearing vintage clothes, Florence has several vintage stores throughout the city that offer a wide selection of brand name merchandise. Mentioned below are only two of the several options in the Marist Italy office area worth mentioning.
On Via del Giglio 39, Dolce Vita (see their Facebook page here) is a moderately sized vintage store that offers a variety of clothes and accessories for men and women. In its window displays, the store clearly highlights all of its designer clothes and accessories, but do not expect that to reflect in the inventory inside! Within, there is more vintage and less designer, though this is not necessarily a bad thing! If you are shopping with friends, it creates the perfect situation of there being something for everyone.
On Via dei Conti, Desiivintage (see their Facebook page here) sports three metal chairs painted in the colors of the Italian flag, one chair per color respectively. This store is a designer lover’s dream. It is about a fourth of the size of Dolce Vita but has a much more extensive collection of clothes, shoes, and accessories made by designers like Chanel, Prada, Louis Vuitton and YSL, to name a few. The merchandise is in immaculate condition and if you question any kind of authenticity, the owners are happy to share they receive much their merchandise from sample sales.
If buying pre-owned clothing and accessories is not your thing, there are two outlet malls approximately 30 to 40 minutes from the city center. Both outlets offer shuttles to and from Florence at reasonable prices. Two worth mentioning are: the Mall and Barberino Designer Outlet.
The first outlet is called The Mall. Located about 20 kilometers south of Florence, it is open Monday to Sunday from 10:00am to 7:00pm, no pausa! The easiest and cheapest way to get to The Mall is to take a SITA bus that takes you directly to the mall from the Florence bus station.
The other outlet located on the outskirts of Florence is the Barberino Designer Outlet. About 35 kilometers north of Florence, it is bigger than The Mall and has several more stores, all of which are not designer. Barberino Outlet is open Monday to Sunday from 10:00am to 8:00pm. There is also a shuttle to the mall from the train station, but make sure to keep track of shuttles times as there are limited shuttles to and from the outlet. It is important to note that the round trip ticket on this shuttle bus is €15.
Last, but certainly not least, remember that when in smaller boutiques, greet employees with a simple “ciao” or “buon giorno/buona sera” upon entering and leaving as is customary. It is amazing where a simple “hello” or “good afternoon” can lead, whether it be an amazing story or an epic discount. Happy shopping!