Travel to Italy: Fashion Outlets and Slow Food Restaurants-Part One-

By | 6 July, 2009
Shopping in Italy

Shopping in Italy, after museums and monuments, is another great reason to travel to Italy. Italy’s hottest places to shop are the hidden-away designer outlet malls offering Italian top quality brands and Made in Italy’s Fashion at 30 to 75% off their original store prices.
This short list of Italy’s outlets is guaranteed to make your designer-loving heart go a-flutter and give you major mileage for your buck! And after a long day of glorious shopping afford your feet and credit card a well-deserved break by sampling tasty Italian food in a Slow Food Restaurant.

Castel Guelfo Outlet CityOfficial Website:

Castel Guelfo Outlet, just a short ride from Bologna and the Riviera of Romagna, is the ideal place for quality bargain shopping in the Emilia Romagna Region. At Castel Guelfo Outlet there are over 70 outlets selling men’s, women’s and children’s clothing, sportswear, accessories and cosmetics, with huge discounts on over 100 leading Italian and international brands.
Castel Guelfo Outlet also features cafés, restaurants, children’s dedicated areas and lots of events designed to entertain families with kids.

Slow Food Restaurants:

Trattoria E’ Parlamintè– Address: Via Mameli, 33. Imola
Best Bets: Culatello Ham, Meat Sauce Hand-Made Tagliatelle, Rosemary Beef.

Hostaria 900– Address: Viale Dante 20, Imola.
Best Bets: Chianina Carpaccio, Tortellini in light broth, Lamb Rack.

The Place Luxury Outlet
Official Website:

The Place Luxury Outlet
is less than an hour’s drive from Milan or Turin showcasing the most prestigious Italian Fashion Designers such as: Ermenegildo Zegna, Agnona, Gucci, Sergio Rossi, La Perla and Vogart Sunglasses. The Place offers a wide selection of stylish clothes, Italian-Made shoes and classy accessories for both men and women, as well as a café and a fine restaurant that specializes in excellent Piedmont cuisine.  A visit to The Place will transform a day of shopping into a true luxury experience!

Slow Food Restaurants:
Restaurant Baracca-Address: Via Sant’ Eusebio, 12. Biella
Best Bets: Cold Cuts, Chilled Veal in Tuna Sauce, Cheese Ravioli.

Veneto Designer Outlet– Official Website:

Veneto Designers Outlet is strategically located at less than one hour drive from Venice.
The design inspiration for this outlet comes from the palazzos of the surrounding Veneto region paying homage to the classic Italian style. The buildings are laid out along streets, plazas and squares, some of which are lined with covered archways to give you the Venice feel, less the Gondola. There are over 140 stores including major fashion brands like Armani, Aspesi, Bikkembergs, Borbonese, Jill Sander, Les Copains, Ferragamo, Sergio Rossi, Valentino, and Costume National.
As added bonus in July and August Veneto Region will be the venue for Veneto Jazz Festival 2009 with an international star-studded program.
Official Website:

Slow Food Restaurants:
Osteria Cà D’Oro Detta Alla Vedova-Address: Cannaregio 3912-Ramo Cà D’Oro. Venice
Best Bets: Busara Spaghetti, Liver Venetian Style, Polenta.

Trattoria Dalla Marina-Address: Cannaregio 652-Fondamenta San Giobbe. Venice
Best Bets: Gnocchi, Seafood, Tripe.

Serravalle Designer Outlet– Official Website:

Serravalle Designer Outlet is located about halfway between Milan (80 kilometers) and Genoa (50 kilometers) and since its opening in September 2000 over 20 million conscious value fashion victims have visited these Made in Italy Fashion Shops. The biggest and most impressive factory outlet in Europe, with a sales area of 40,000 square meters, consists of 180 stores, selling designer-label clothing, shoes and accessories, plus cafés, restaurants, fast food outlets, and a children’s playground.
Stores include Bulgari, Brooks Brothers, Diesel, Dolce & Gabbana, Hugo Boss, La Perla, Lacoste, Roberto Cavalli, Prada, Frette, Ferragamo, Versace, Benetton, Swatch, Bassetti, Mandarina Duck and much more.

Slow Food Restaurants:

Restaurant Cappelverde-Address: Via San Pio, 26. Alessandria
Best Bets: Pesto Lasagna, Chilled Veal in Tuna Sauce, Meat Sauce Agnolotti.

Trattoria Razmataz
-Address: Via Bellini, 24. Alessandria
Best Bets: Cheese Platter, Oxtail with Barbera, Tripe.

The Mall or Gucci Factory OutletOfficial Website:

The Mall Outlet
, set in the Tuscan Hills, often referred to as the Gucci outlet, is a thirty minute drive south of Florence on the way to Leccio. The Mall was opened on August 2001 and has since expanded now offering Italian and international luxury labels like Agnona, Alexander McQueen, Armani (3 shops), Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta, Burberry, Diesel, Zegna, Fendi, Ferragamo, Gucci, Hogan, La Perla, Loro Piana, Marni, Pucci, Sergio Rossi, Stella McCartney, Tod’s, Valentino, Yohji Yamamoto, Yves Saint Laurent …. need more reasons to go?!
The Mall is bargain hunting at it’s finest, very popular with tourists, expect busloads of Japanese shoppers, so arrive early as it is likely that you’ll have to queue your way out. For a break head to the local restaurant for tasty Tuscan food and wine.



Hitting the Sales
: Twice a year, in January and July, boutiques and outlets sell off seasonal stock at reduced prices to make way for incoming collections and you can enjoy an additional discount!

Tax Back
: Non-EU residents can claim a tax refund (around 14 per cent) on VAT if they spend over €175 in any one day in one shop, and if they live outside the EU for more than six months in the year.

Have a Plan
: Because you never know exactly what you may find at a Designer Outlet Mall (orange, chiffon-ruffled blouse, anyone?), have a checklist of items you are looking for. The sheer volume of items can be distracting, but if you know you need a black turtleneck, it will be easier to scan the shops for what you want.

Be Smart: Clothing, no matter how cheap, is still a waste of money if it never gets worn. See a cute dress you may wear if you ever go on a cruise? Ask yourself if you really have a reason to wear it in the next year.

Ready? Take your pick – Italy has it all!

Ciao from Italy!

Nancy Aiello