Shopping & Lunching in Mugello at Europe’s most beautiful outlet!
I don’t think I am alone when I say how happy I am that Tuscany has moved into the yellow zone of Covid-19 restrictions, offering us more freedom to move around. As much as I love living in the centre of Florence, I also love the fact that there are so many charming and diverse places to visit within easy reach of the city and now more than ever we feel the desire to travel outside our city walls. As you’ve heard me say many times, the region of Tuscany is so diverse – it’s not all cypress trees & Chianti – there are stunning coastlines, picturesque mountains and then, there is Mugello.
Mention Mugello to most people (well men mostly) and they’ll think of only one thing – Moto GP as the area and its racetrack has been associated with racing since 1914 but Mugello offers so much more than this annual racing event.
Located in a green valley to the northeast of Florence, Mugello is a part of Tuscany whose natural beauty has remained largely uncontaminated by mass tourism and this is what makes this territory such a pleasure to visit. The tall mountain peaks of Mount Giove, Senario and Calvano border lush green fields with the Tuscan-Emilia Romagna Appennines providing a stunning skyline.
Barberino di Mugello is a small town found an easy thirty minute drive along the A1 from Florence or 45 minutes from Bologna. For those of you that know me well, you’ll understand one of the things that I find special about visiting Barberino…….. Did someone say Designer Outlet?
The Barberino Designer Outlet is part of the McArthurGlen Group and has been cleverly designed to blend in with the natural landscape. It not only offers a wonderful and unique shopping experience but a perfect outing in a relaxed village-like atmosphere. International designer brands such as Karl Lagerfeld, Levis and Woolrich mix with popular local Italian names Blumarine, Furla , Luisa Spagnoli, The Bridge, André Maurice and Pinko. You can check out the full store directory here.
An incredible collection of apparel, bags, shoes and cosmetics are available here at 30%-70% discount all year round so you can imagine the amazing bargains to be found here during their sales which coincidentally just started on the January 30 and will be going on until March 1st. You’ll find some great kitchen-supply stores as well as popular kids brands too.
Did someone also say SALDI? This is a good Italian word to know – it means Sales!!! With a gorgeous sunny day forecast last Tuesday after so many days of rain, I jumped at the opportunity to visit the outlet with a few girlfriends for a fun day of shopping on the second day of the sales. It’s amazing how a change of scenery can brighten a girl’s mood, not to mention the idea of shopping and lunching with lovely like-minded women!
Naturally during this period of Covid-19, the Barberino Designer Outlet has done everything to ensure your wellbeing, as keeping you safe is of their utmost importance. One of the features that I love about the outlet is that it is open-air with wide pathways to ensure your ‘socially-distanced’ shopping experience is as enjoyable and stress-free as possible. Upon arrival, your temperature is taken and hand-sanitiser is provided before you can enter the shopping area. Masks are obligatory for all guests and must be worn at all times within the outlet. Hand sanitiser is also found at the entrance of every store and must be used before entering and touching any items.
Barberino Designer Outlet is conveniently located for easy access from Florence, Bologna and Pisa. Drive from Florence just in 30 minutes, Bologna in 45 minutes and Pisa in 75 minutes.
Once you take the exit on the A1 to Barberino di Mugello, you cannot get lost finding your way to the outlet as there are clear signs at every intersection, leading you directly to the entrance. Then, upon arrival, it’s easy to find a car-park in one of the many ample Free parking areas available. There are also dedicated pink parking spots for pregnant women or mums with children and strollers. Another fantastic service for parents is the clean and spacious bathrooms and baby-changing areas.
The wide, smooth paths also offer excellent access for wheelchairs.
*At the time of writing, and due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Shuttle Bus from Florence has been temporarily suspended but this service will be re-introduced as soon as government covid restrictions are lifted. This is a fantastic service for those who prefer not to drive, leaving from the Santa Maria Novella train station and taking you directly to the outlet. The cost of the return trip is €13.
You can also book a private transfer by calling or writing to Guest Services at +39 055 842161 or firstname.lastname@example.org
After spending a few hours admiring the fantastic selection of product at our favourite stores, we decided it was time for lunch. Barberino Outlet offers a great selection of cafes and restaurants, from Neapolitan at Farinella, Sicilian at Antica Focacceria and even burgers at Mama Burger but we decided to stay traditional and eat Tuscan, choosing il Torracchione as we were excited to try their version of the local speciality, Tortelli Mugellani – a square ravioli filled with soft mash potato served with a meat ragù. (I’ll be sharing the recipe for this traditional pasta dish in my next post!)
The trattoria offers indoor and outdoor dining and we were super pleased to sit outside and enjoy the warm winter rays of sunshine.
Here the hospitality is typical of your friendly family run trattoria, where mother and daughter, Grazia and Anna have been sharing their passion for good quality Tuscan food for over twenty years. The servings are generous and their fresh pasta is made by hand every morning. We decided to order the tortelli, ribollita, the ‘tagliata’ (sliced steak) and a typical Tuscan platter of prosciutto, finocchiona sbriciolona (a Tuscan speciality – crumbly salami made with fennel) and pecorino all accompanied with a perfect red wine – ‘vino della casa’.
The service and quality of food was excellent. Outside of pandemic restrictions, Il Torracchione is also open for dinner.
I can’t express how lovely it was to enjoy a girls shopping day and lunch outdoors in such a beautiful location. We were the happy women giggling like teenagers doing something a bit different than our normal day to day routine and we all left feeling re-energised and happy. Even though we were so close to Florence, the scenic drive and escape from the city gave the feeling of a very special day, especially after the last year we’ve all experienced.
Barberino Designer Outlet offers such a great mix of brands at such affordable prices for every budget. I especially love the international names that are not available in Florence and with the added discount available right now during the sales, I know I’ll be visiting again very soon!
Barberino Designer Outlet has been very kind to offer any readers of This Tuscan Life their own Fashion Passport. This will give you an extra 10% off outlet prices in participating stores (almost all of them) of items that are not on sale or in promotion. As well as the added discount, you will also receive a ‘break-time’ voucher which will offer you further discounts in the outlet’s restaurants.
Upon arrival to the outlet, head straight to the Guest Services office easily found near the first main entrance to grab your Fashion Passport and feel like a VIP! Just mention This Tuscan Life.
Here are some more of the excellent services offered at the outlet :
- You can browse the internet free of charge throughout the Centre, with the “_Barberino Free WiFi” network.
- The Centre is equipped with disabled access toilets and dedicated facilities for wheelchair users. You can borrow a wheelchair at the Guest Services – Free of charge!
- Charge your smartphone for free. Ask at the Guest Services office for more information.
- Dogs within the Centre must be on a leash. Only small dogs are admitted inside the stores and only if in their owner’s arms. Poopy bags available free of charge by the Guest Service.
- In case of bad weather, umbrellas are also available free of charge. Ask at Guest Services.
Monday – Friday 10:00am – 8:00pm
Saturday & Sunday Closed *at time of writing due to Government Covid-19 restrictions
Video and Photos by Kirsten Hills
Kirsten Hills is a film maker and video journalist, making social media content, videos and documentaries. For enquiries contact : email@example.com