Most people don’t go to Italy specifically to shop, but if you’re out to snag some hot designer fashions plan an early 2013 trip to Italy to get your New Year off to a fashionable start. From January 6 through mid February Italy beckons like a magnetic force field to shoppers who crave the famous Italian brands.
Get together with a group of girl friends and jet off to Milan to spend your Christmas bonus, but just make sure that you each have different styles, wear different sizes or be prepared to share, so that the friendship remains intact after the shopping venture.
Although all of the major Italian cities have chic shopping areas lined with designer boutiques, none has the variety and number of outlet malls that you’ll find in the Milan area. It is after all Italy’s fashion capital. You’ll find designer goods from Roberto Cavalli, Dolce & Gabbana, Etro, Gucci, Loro Piana, Marni, Prada, Valentino, Versace and more. You can choose from the designers’ own direct outlets or from outlets that carry a number of different designer brands.
Online sites such as itravelishop.com provides a list of some of these with details such as where they are located and examples of the brands they stock. Just as in America, many of the larger outlet malls are on the outskirts of town, but there are also some designer outlets almost hidden in off the beaten track places in the city.
A case in point is the Marni outlet that is squirreled away in a residential neighborhood in the northeast section of Milan. The MaxMara factory outlet is near Piazza San Babila. In fact you’ll find tons of shopping and great buys in Milan itself. So to leave time for some of the city’s sites you may want to focus on only one or two of the large outlet malls. Some will require a car to reach, so this is another consideration.
Shopping Italian outlet malls and designer outlets, is such a big deal that some tour companies offer guided group or private shopping tours of Italy. In fact, Fidenza Village outside Milan offers its own tour packages on its website fidenzavillage.com. It even offers shuttle service from Milan to reach it. You’ll also find information on shopping tours on the following sites: Lifeinitaly. com, milanshoppingtours.com, and viator.com as well as from travel consultants who specialize in Italian travel.
Of course, regular fashion boutiques and department stores also have sales with much of the winter season merchandise priced 30 to 50% off. So it is possible to burn off most of those holiday calories while tracking all of the values that Milan offers. Trying on clothes in this city, not to mention all of the walking, qualifies as an aerobic activity.
Milan is a virtual mecca for fashionistas. It also has what every hard day of shopping should end in and that’s a spa. Milan features some excellent ones including Bulgari and Gianfranco Ferre each have their own luxurious spas. The former is located in Milan’s Gianfranco Ferre boutique and the latter in the Hotel Bulgari. The luxereview.com has information on these with links to their websites. Another hotel with a beautiful full service spa is the Four Seasons Hotel in Milan.
In planning a trip that highlights shopping, it’s a good idea to spend a little time shopping around for a great airfare to leave more money for your shopping fund. You’ll find deals for around $1,400 per person via United Airlines, Air Canada and Lufthansa with departures from LAX to Milan. These prices were available late November through edreams.net, but I also suggest checking the sites for these airlines as well as kayak.com, which searches multiple airlines to let you compare and find the best prices for the time you want to travel.
You wouldn’t necessarily think that Milan, a city known for its contemporary design aesthetics, would be a good place to shop for antiques, but it has several markets worth checking out, because you never know what you’ll find. These include Viale Papiniano and Via Fauche, both of which carry shoes and clothing and are open every Saturday.
Milan has a wide selection of cool hotels to suit any taste and location need. Once you’ve decided how you’ll spend your time, besides shopping, you can better decide where to stay. Hotels.com and venere.com can be helpful in sorting out locations and ammenities in a range of prices from under $150 to over $300.
If shopping is your idea of a great way to start the New Year, then by all means book a trip to Milan. Although malls and outlet malls are much the same the world over, you will find outlet stores there that you don’t find in the states and you can top that off with shopping in downtown Milan, which is an undeniable shopping mecca experience.