05 Feb 2014 Lakes & Outlets: panoramic and luxury shopping itinerary in Italy
The “Dolce Vita” is not limited to the cafés of Rome, but can also be found in other parts of Italy and in other guises. In the north, for example, in Italy’s “lake district”: Lake Maggiore, Lake Como, Lake Garda… this is where George Clooney and Michael Schumacher have bought homes so that they can enjoy the pleasure of an exclusive holiday.
In fact, the area around the Lakes is packed with the outlets of some of the most prestigious “Made in Italy” brands. Shopping lovers can enjoy a very original lakeside tour on the trail of all these venues.
We start from Lake Como and move south: in Vertemate, you can lose yourself in the three floors of the Armani Outlet, that is every bit as good as the boutique in Milan.
In the same area it is also possible to find high quality knitwear and precious yarns at the Cashmere Factory Store in Fenegrò, quality footwear in Lomazzo (Calzaturificio Brunate Factory Store) and the Outlet Emporio Lario 1898 in Cirimido.
For high quality cashmere, perfect for the cool, sparkling air of the lakes, we have to move west towards Lake Maggiore. To the south are the outlets of a number of top international companies: Loro Piana in Romagnano Sesia and Colombo in Ghemme.
For warm, precious gifts, visit the direct sales outlet of the Colombo group, producers of elegant fabrics and quality clothing. Here you will find all the finest fibers such as alpaca, cashmere and the new cashgora. Ghemme is also the location of the Distillerie Francoli, famous for their “grappa”, wines and liqueurs.
To the east of Ghemme, in Vicolungo, is The Style Outlets, with over 150 stores and many prestigious brands. The Style Outlets in Vicolungo also hosts art exhibitions, events and other initiatives. Close by are the Ermenegildo Zegna and Agnona outlets, in Bolgheri di Oleggio.
Italian style is also evident in the household linen and sportswear sectors: we move on to Golasecca to see the colorful and imaginative collections from Missoni. Moving further north, we come to Castelletto Ticino (in the province of Novara) and the Sergio Tacchini Factory Outlet, dedicated to sportswear.
Next stop, a tasty food and wine break in neighboring Gattico, at the Caseificio Tosi – a must for cheese lovers.
Moving up the lake again, to the east, in the direction of Varese, we continue our tour of outlets selling high quality linen for the home: the Bassetti factory outletis in Cuveglio and, further north, in Verbania (on the opposite bank of the Lake) is the Pretti spa outlet.
Moving westwards, between Lake Maggiore and Lake Orta, between the Strona Valley and the Mattarone mountain, we come to Omegna. The city where the Moka express was invented and the first pressure cookers were mass produced could only be the location for factory outlets selling design products for the home: Alessi, Lagostina, Ruffoni (copper specialists) and Piazza.
Following the coast of Lake Maggiore again, in a southerly direction, we come to Stresa, which is well worth visiting, and then the delightful town of Arona.
Finally, there is one place that is particularly suitable for “younger tourists”. Just a few kilometers from the Arona motorway exit, between Lake Maggiore and Lake Orta (the nearest town is Borgomanero) is Castelletto Ticino (Novara), where the Mattel outlet is located, selling toys from Barbies to Hot Wheels cars, to Toy Story figures and Polly Pocket toys.