What you need to know about renting a car in Italy and visiting The Mall Firenze

Today Hubby would land in Roma and he would take the train straight to Firenze. We had a leisure morning today as we only had to be in Firenze in the afternoon. We bought bus ticket to Firenze from Cafe/Bar across the street and waited for the bus at bus stop. Bus schedule can be downloaded here

Arriving Firenze, we walked to San Lorenzo market where they sell all kind of leather bags but they also have food market on the second level. We were going to have lunch there. Hubby met us at the food market and after lunch we took the Tram T2 to Firenze airport. From there we boarded a shuttle to Hertz Car Rental.

Firenze Food Market

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW WHEN RENTING A CAR IN ITALY

If you are planning a road trip in Italy then knowing about ZTLs is an absolute must. ZTL stands for ‘Zona a Traffico Limitato’, or Limited Traffic Area. This is an area in the centre of Italian cities and towns where traffic is restricted. They don’t exist everywhere in Italy, but they are fairly common and if you’re visiting one of the main cities, such as FlorencePisa or Rome, for instance, it’s fair to assume a ZTL exists.

Contrary to popular belief, every single entrance to a ZTL has a clear sign indicating that you’re entering a restricted traffic area. The sign to look for has white circle with a red border over a white background. Above the circle you will see the words ‘Zona a Traffico Limitato’, and below the circle there will be further information regarding the specific restrictions of that ZTL. For instance ‘7,30 – 19,30’ means that there are only traffic limitations between 7.30am and 7.30pm. Another tell-tale sign that you are entering a restricted traffic area is the existence of security cameras on poles by the road. It’s important to keep an eye out for this, since after you enter a ZTL you will probably not see any sign that you shouldn’t be driving there. You can read more about ZTL here.

To avoid complication with ZTL we chose to pick up our rental car from Herts shop in Firenze airport. If you intend to stay in Firenze you don’t need to rent a car because you can not drive inside the city because of the ZTL status. But if you want to explore the small cities in Tuscany then you need to rent a car or join a group tour if you don’t want to drive yourself.

We rented a car with Hertz based on review that the two most reliable car rental in Italy are Hertz and Avis. Sixth and Europa car aren’t deemed reliable in Italy.

We drove straight to The Mall from the airport. We could actually take the Bus to the Mall from the same bus station where we took the bus to Panzano. But we needed the car for tomorrow road trip.

THE MALL

The Mall Firenze is an open-air luxury outlet mall located in the small town of Leccio (Tuscany), just 35 km away from Firenze city. The outlet stores here are known for offering steep discounts on European luxury goods ranging from 35% to 70%, compared to retail prices. Famous brands include Gucci, Prada, Ferragamo, Moncler, Armani, Valentino, Burberry, Yves Saint Laurent, and more. Several of the brands even had their own large building, such as Prada, Gucci, Moncler, and Michael Kors. This is indeed THE mall to visit in Italy if you’re looking for great bargains. Did I sound ELATED yet?

I found that The Mall here was much bigger than Bicester FO in the UK. Some stores were located quite far from each other and you need a car. I could easily spend a day here if I have all the money in the world. We only had 2 hours there so I already planned ahead which store I wanted to visit and I sticked to the plan.

What you need to know about the Tax Refund

The Mall also had a VAT refund lounge, open until 7.30pm. However if you are leaving Italy by train to Switzerland and flying home from Switzerland you can not get your refund from that lounge as you need to submit your form at the Italy border.

I was not aware that Switzerland is not part of EU so I could not get my custom stamp there for my purchase in Italy. Instead, because I am going to Switzerland by train I have to get the stamp in either (1) Chiassi or (2) Domodossola.

Don’t make the same mistake as I did. If you planned to shop in Italy and leaving Italy by train to Swiss, you need to break your train journey in Chiassi or Domodossola. Get a stamp there and then take the train to Swiss.

We drove straight to Chianti after we finished shopping at the Mall and stopped in Greve in Chianti for dinner. Greve is the biggest village in Chianti and has more options of restaurants.

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