Northern Italy Designer Bargains

Designer fashion bargains in Northern Italy:

You don't need to spend a fortune. Did you know that the best of Italian designer clothing and leather goods can be bought at fantastic discounts?young shopper

Why be a spendthrift when you don't have to be? Dream on and buy that Gucci, Armani, Roberto Cavalli, Dolce & Gabbana , Loro Piana, Trussardi, Gianfranco Ferrè, Valentino, or Prada—and, of course the list goes on and on. The Italians "know" exactly where to shop and now you will know where to shop too.

Northern Italy is the shopping heaven, so to speak, of designer clothing. Milan is the fashion capital and it boasts the most extravagant shops. How much does one have to spend for that gorgeous dress, or that smart suit, or that sophisticated leather handbag? If you time it right you can get away with paying far less. Timing is the crucial factor. The turnover of every fashion year is tremendous. Clothes from last year's fashion must be moved out of the warehouses and out of the stores where they initially did not sell—prices are exorbitant.

But, once a year, starting the 6th of January and running until the 15th of February, is when designer clothing prices take the big plunge. So, this "is" the time to plan your shopping trip to the north of Italy. Everyone in Italy knows where to go to possess a clothing treasure, or a gem of a shoe at a fraction of the original price. Whatever your taste is, whether it is Roberto Cavalli or Loro Piana—the places to hunt are primarily the outlet stores and city street markets located in the city of Turin in Piemonte (Piedmont) province, outlet stores in Alessandria (Alexandria) province, outlet stores in Lombardia (Lombardy) province and across the border in Switzerland.

Turin, a former royal city of the Savoy and the former capital of Italy, boasts several places where designer clothing can be had at bargain prices. A favorite shop among the locals is

Il Grifone, located at Corso Turati 15 in Torino. Then there is also Spaccio Kappa di Torino (The Kappa Outlet Store) which offers 80% reductions on price and is located on Via Foggia 42—Corso Regio Parco 39. Also, browse at the Superga factory outlet on Via San Marino 31.

The markets in Turin are one of the best places to find high quality clothing, believe it or not, and this is a big secret among the locals too. Turin's city street markets and designer factory outlet stores are the places to visit. Torino boasts numerous markets throughout the city, however the street markets which regularly sell top quality garments, year round are located in the following areas: the Crocetta quarter and the neighborhoods of Borgata Vittoria and Santa Rita. One thing to note is that, it is also common to see the inside labels cut out of the clothing that is being sold in the markets, but not always of course. Why? Because it is the only way the merchants can sell the garment cheap, in other words, so they do not have to pay royalties. So, if you can live without the prestigious inside label and are merely satisfied with looks and good quality, then it certainly can be had for a very reasonable cost. And, the markets are "the" place to negotiate on the price as well. The following is a list of the best markets to hit in Turin.

Mercato della Croceta (the Crocetta Market) located on via Cristoforo Colombo near the Chiesa Crocetta (Church of Crocetta) is open Monday through Saturday from 8:00 a.m until 2:00 p.m.

Mercato di San Secondo (the San Secondo Street Market) is also located in the Crocetta quarter on via San Secondo; the market is open on Monday through Saturday 8:00 unitl 2:00 p.m.

Mercato di Corso Palestro (the Palestro Street Market) is located near Porta Susa in the Borgata Vittoria quarter and runs Monday through Saturday from 8:00 a.m. until 18:00

Mercato di Corso Sebastopoli (the Sebastopoli Street Market) located in the Santa Rita quarter runs from Monday through Saturday 8:00 a.m. until 18:00. The markets are generally running until 4:00 p.m or 6:00 p.m., and sometimes they only run til 12:00 noon. It all depends on how business is going and the seasons of the year, with the longest hours generally in the warmer months of the year.

Alessandria province, southeast of Piemonte province, is the home of Outlet Serravalle (Serravalle Outlet Mall). This is a grand mall featuring all the top designer shops and where clothing bargains are also available year round. To reach Serravalle take the A7 highway Milano-Genova and exit at Serravalle. The famous clothing designer and manufacturer in Piemonte

Loro Piana has a factory outlet store located in the Seravalle Mall.

In the fashion capital of Milan city, the Rinascente department store located on Vittorio Emanuele II, just across from the famous Duomo Cathedral, offers during the sale season of January and February, fantastic savings of up to 50% on clothing, shoes, and more. In the Lombardia province of north Italy the best places to search for clothing treasures are not in the city markets of Milan, rather in the outlet centers in the Milan hinterlands—known as the Brianza to the locals—near the cities of Como and Lecco. Most of these shops are tucked away in small towns.

A one hour drive north of Milan city will take you to some hidden places that most tourists will never find. One such place

and a definite "must visit" is The StockHouse  in Inverigo (CO) is Via Generale Cantore 12. There is a big sign in front of store and parking lot. However, the street name is not consistent in the area. Directions: take Milano-Lecco Superstrada  SS36, Uscita "Veduggio" and then follow signs to Inverigo. Or, drive from Milan to Giussano up to Inverigo. Inverigo is in Como province bordering Milan province.

One of the best kept secrets for buying designer clothing, shoes and other leather goods is

Foxtown Outlet Mall located on via Maspoli in Mendrisio, Switzerland (canton Ticino). Foxtown is just fifteen minutes from the city of Como. From Milan the 2 hour drive is certainly well worth it especially when one considers the beautiful scenery enroute to one of the most elegant designer outlet malls north of Milan. To drive from Milan take the A-9 autostrada to Como/Chiasso, and then merge with the A-2 autostrada north; then exit at the Varese/Stabio/Mendrisio exit.

Believe it, Mendrisio is where the locals hunt for their extravagant clothing. The next time you travel to Italy make certain you plan to be there between the 6th of January and the 15th of February to take advantage of the fantastic savings on the high quality Italian clothing and leather goods. A presto and happy shopping!

By Karin Susan Fester