You can’t walk more than a block or two down any given street in Italy without going past a gelateria (gelato store) with a glass counter displaying colorful mounds of sweet, frozen deliciousness. Each gelato flavor has a little decoration on top to make sure you know what flavor it is, like a strawberry or a Nutella logo, and those beautiful displays lure in even the most stalwart health nuts.
We ate gelato pretty regularly in Nice, France (Quick on-topic tangent: Lonely Planet’s recommendation of Fenocchio was spot on… I have never seen so many amazing flavors! I tried jasmine, rose, and lavender, and they were incredible!), but it has become a daily ritual now that we’re in Italy. It is a melty, messy undertaking that we are thrilled to take on each day.
No cup of gelato is ever a bad cup, but there is gelato that stands out from the rest. First of all, in spite of my opening praises, the best gelato is actually served in covered metal tubs that minimize air exposure. The good stuff is also milder in color since it doesn’t have artificial colors. So with that in mind, and acknowledging that this list is completely subjective, here are some of our personal favorites for satisfying your gelato cravings in Florence:
1) Il Procopio
We stopped at this gelateria because their door proclaimed that they’d won a competition for the best gelato in Florence. We didn’t try their award-winning orange, almond, and pistachio flavor, but we had their Cremino. It was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten - creamy hazelnut gelato with thick ribbons of Nutella... the perfect amount of decadence. The girls tried cantaloupe, which was surprisingly good, and there was a lemon basil that I really wanted to try, but when we went back a second time, I couldn’t help but order the Cremino again. :)
A quick TripAdvisor search recommended Edoardo as one of the top gelato spots in Florence, and it did not disappoint. Given our love for organic food, I was happily surprised to see that their gelato is all organic. I got a scoop of cinnamon, and the flavor was amazing, like a little bit of Christmas in every bite. Joshua and the girls got a cone of chocolate and Gianduia (I read rave reviews of their handmade cones), and they were also really good, super creamy with distinct flavor.
This spot is a little more slick and touristy, but it’s still worth stopping if you’re heading near Piazza della Repubblica or Ponte Vecchio in the evening. Their Cremino is very good, although not quite as superb as Il Procopio’s, and the girls had a tasty cup of chocolate gelato. Speaking of chocolate, as you walk in the store, you will be greeted by the tantalizing aroma of chocolate, and you’ll see golden sinks with melted chocolate running out of the faucets. Do yourself a favor and buy a small shot of that melted chocolate along with your gelato… it’s delicious!
4) Santa Trinita
We stumbled across this gelateria that’s one bridge down from Ponte Vecchio and ducked inside to get a break from the heat. It’s a cute store that also sells rainbow-colored pastas and a wide variety of wines, and their gelato is fantastic. I had a delightful sesame seed and dark chocolate flavor, and we really liked their own Santa Trinita flavor (which has Nutella). The lemon and lime were also great, tart and refreshing on that hot summer day.
5) By Palazzo Vecchio
I don’t remember the name of this gelato shop! If you’re in front of Palazzo Vecchio, there’s a gelateria on the left-hand side of the piazza that’s really good. It also has a bar, in case you want a drink along with your gelato! Their pine nut cream gelato is excellent, the amaretto is really good, and the pistachio and Stracciatella were great too. If you know the name of this shop, please let me know!
Bonus Tuscany Recommendation
When we toured the adorable town of San Gimignano, we got scoops of gelato from Gelateria Dondoli, which won the world gelato championship two times. It’s known as “the best gelato in the world” (at least according to them and our tour guide!). We had four delicious flavors: strawberry, Nutella, spicy cream, and saffron cream. The saffron cream was heavenly! I wasn’t a huge fan of the Vernaccia flavor, made with local Vernaccia grapes - that basically tasted like frozen wine. But everything else was truly amazing.
If you’re looking for even more recommendations, here is a completely different list of top gelato shops in Florence: http://www.visitinflorence.com… I wish I had found this list earlier, these sound awesome too!
Do you have a favorite gelato shop in Florence/Tuscany? Let us know your recommendations in the comments!
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