For our honeymoon in Italy, I compiled a list of places to eat gelato in Florence, based on recommendations on TripAdvisor, Chowhound, and the Internet in general. We spent only a handful of days there, and my list was long, so I did what any reasonable foodie would do — I sacrificed my diet and waistline. Sure, my blood sugar level might have spiked, but it was all in the name of gastronomy.
A 10-minute walk from Palazzo Pitti is this delightful little ice-cream place. The gelato is absolutely delicious and some of the best we had in Florence. We tried the crema florentina, cheesecake, pistachio and something else I can’t recall.
Address: Piazza Torquato Tasso, 11r
Do yourself a favour and try the apple pie flavour! The hubby topped up our order with hazelnut, whilst I seized the chance at a green tea fix the moment I saw it (Starbucks in the UK does not serve Green Tea Frappuccino). Omg. One reason why the gelato here is so good might be that it’s homemade fresh every day without preservatives, colouring or emulsifiers. Another might be in the meaning of its name, “Why not!” Our only gripe was the cup seemed a little small… we should have kept all the cups from different gelaterias to compare them!
Note: Apple pie and green tea flavours are available only on Fridays. Closed on Tuesdays.
Address: Via dei Tavolini, 19r
Crema di Grom is egg cream with corn biscuits and Colombian chocolate chips. Yum, as was the pistachio. Although the persimmon was good, I prefer it in its original fruit form. From reviews I’ve read, since its expansion (to Paris, New York, Malibu, Tokyo and all over Italy) Grom is not as great as it once was and prices are a little steep. Having been there only recently, I can’t comment on the alleged decline in quality.
Address: Via del Campanile
Gelateria dei Neri
I couldn’t believe how good the strawberry cheesecake was, like ice-cream cake melting in your mouth! I also recommend the mango and plain strawberry flavours, which were really fruity and juicy.
Address: Via dei Neri, 26r
Festival del Gelato
At first we avoided this place thinking a gelateria right smack in the city centre must be a tourist trap. Luckily we were wrong. The strawberry cheesecake and dark chocolate with chilli were very good.
Address: Via del Corso, 75r
This was the only gelateria we went to that had a grape flavour (maybe that’s a coincidence), so when I finally saw it I had that with green apple. Both were juicy and tasted natural, not too sweet. My husband was pleased as punch with his cookies n’ cream and nutella combo.
Address: Via Lambertesca, 18r
Cantina del Gelato
We found this gelateria in the Oltrarno on the other side of the Arno river, right in front of the Ponte Vecchio. The passion fruit and mango flavours were good — my husband preferred the former. In hindsight we should have ordered two more different flavours because the tastes sort of blended together and we had trouble telling them apart. I know! What refined palates, right?
Address: Via del Bardi, 31r
Steps from the Accademia where Michelangelo’s David stands tall is this gelateria, known for its Sicilian delights — granita (sort of like sorbet), cannoli (tube-shaped pastries), cassata (sponge cake with cheese and fruit), brioche, and of course, gelato! We tried the tangerine and lemon. Very fruity and juicy. I hear the cannoli are a must, as they’re made on request and with proper ricotta cheese filling, not cheap cream. The one thing that marred our experience was the service. Perhaps the lady behind the counter was having a bad day, but her demeanour was as sour as the citrus flavours she served up, and left a bitter aftertaste.
Address: Via Ricasoli, 60r
Random interesting facts about gelato
Gelato is simply the Italian word for ice-cream, made with cream, milk, sugars and flavouring (e.g. fruit, nut, anything).
By Italian law, it must contain at least 3.5% butterfat with no upper limit.
Italy is the only country where the market share of handmade vs. industrially-produced gelato is more than 55% — thanks, Wikipedia!
Frozen desserts date far back to ancient Roman and Egyptian times in the form of mountain ice and snow preserved underground.
In 1565, a Florentine architect named Bernardo Buontalenti was rumoured to have invented and introduced modern-day ice-cream to Catherine de Medici, who then brought it to France.