Friday, August 19, 2011
The devil wears Prada...and so do I
The best kept secret in Florence is housed in a nondescript grey factory building in a quiet village south of the city. Space is the factory outlet for Prada and Miu Miu and is fashion mecca for any style conscious designer or wearer.
With promises of massive discounts on end of season, end of line and even ranges that never made it onto the shop floor, it's too tempting to pass up. Even though the day we arrived it was shut, we rushed back the next morning to grab a ticket which allows you to browse...or sweep crazily...through the outlet grabbing whatever takes your fancy. We arrived 35 mins before opening time and still our tickets said 90-92 and the queue in 35 degrees of heat snaked into the car park before the doors opened to the stampede.
It was like the first day of Harrods sale and it's fair to say the Japanese tourists were the most excited ...one tiny girl got a mouthful of abuse from the burly Italian man she was shoving in order to get through the door. There's method in her madness, in Tokyo, prices are virtually double what we pay in Europe.
So was it worth it? Even Issy, who dragged herself out of bed at an ungodly hour to come, thought so.I bought a Miu Miu wallet and a pair of Miu Miu leather thong sandals while Handyman bought a jacket, jeans and a hoodie, outspending me! But our purchases were outshone by the Japanese who rampaged around grabbing bags and purses like their lives depended on it. The girl in front of me spent two grand on two bags and two wallets while Iain saw two guys straight out of Pulp Fiction who bought ten pairs of shoes each!
The great thing is, you can touch everything and not feel intimidated or have three assistants by your side giving you evils if you dont buy. The Mall at Leccio, in the Tuscan hills just outside Florence, is also worth a visit...Gucci new season at 50% off, Hogan, YSL, Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta and many more. By this point the temperature had risen to 43 degrees and my Amex card was feeling the heat.
We spent a lovely day in Lucca yesterday exploring the walled city before enjoying a long lunch at Paulette and Nick's beautiful stone house in Pescaglia. Today is our last day in Florence, so we are off to the Dali/Rodin exhibition by the river then onto lunch at the Golden View restaurant, with a fabulous position overlooking the Ponte Vecchio. There are some great restaurants here, and others which cater solely, and rather soullessly, for the tourist market, which is in stark contrast to Puglia.
One of the best so far is La Cantinetta in Via Borgo... we have eaten there twice. It looks like a deli at the front but don't be fooled, they have a great wine list by the glass as well as the bottle, home cooked food - the bruschetta with pomodorini and vegetable lasagne were fabulous and Handyman rated the pork with rocket and parmesan. They only opened four months ago but they are consistently busy and service is among the best we have found in Italy.