Let’s be clear from the start. Gelato in Italy is not just any dessert, there is something magic about it. It should have a separate category to describe it, Gelato can make any moment of the day just a little bit better!
There is no other dessert we have eaten as much of in our lifetime and we believe that most Italians would say the same. Italians and gelato have a very personal connection. Almost every Italian mother holds as treasure a photo of her children in the attic, their ice cream-smudged faces alight with pure joy whilst tucking into their very first gelato. There is an unwritten rule in Italy; you are finally grown up when you have managed to devour an entire cone without spilling, smudging, or entirely submerging yourself in the stuff! To eat gelato in Italy everyone develops their own technique. In the same way, we learn to walk, swim, and tie our shoes we learn how to eat our favorite but dangerously messy dessert. If you stop outside an Italian gelateria and watch (inevitably with envy) the people eating their gelati, it is easy to spot the natives amongst the crowd, as we Italians have perfected our technique with years of practice. What would you expect from a population that eats, on average, over twelve kilos of gelato per year?
One of the favorite questions we like to be asked is: “Cono o Coppetta?” and where better a place to reply to this question than in the gelato-laden city of Florence!
Undoubtedly, you will find amazing Gelato all over Italy, but we decided to write our first Gelato article about Florence and not without reason. The craft of gelato is an art and like all arts, it flourished during the Renaissance. Even though the development of Italy’s love story with gelato has too many stories to tell, Florence had a big role to play in developing and exporting one of the world’s most beloved desserts. We would say Gelato in Florence is something to try, like you would say of any other local specialty.
Here is our MUST-TRY list of the absolute best gelato spots in Florence, the long-established as well as the lesser-known rising stars:
La Gelatiera – on via dei Ginori is one of the newest and less known gelateria on our list and there is just one word to describe it: WOW! It also serves an abundance of gluten and lactose-free options. Try the Pistacchio and Cioccolato Fondente!
La Sorbettiera – in Piazza Tasso, here gelato is served at the door. There is no indoor space as it is all taken up by the artisanal gelato lab just behind the counter. Try Limone e Salvia!
Gelateria della Passera – One of our favorite spots in Oltrarno. Piazza della Passera is a little oasis to escape the crowds and it hides undoubtedly one of the best gelaterie of the city. We highly recommend the Zabaione, Caffè degli Artigiani, and Mandorla flavors, and of course, don’t miss the seasonal special!
Donamalina – With two locations, one in piazza delle Cure and the other in Piazza San Jacopino. Their hazelnut – pistachio – almond mix called “gusto mediterraneo” is probably one of the best we have ever tried.
Gelateria Vivoli – Many proud Florentines would say you haven’t tried Florentine gelato until you’ve had Vivoli; one of Florence’s oldest, strictly family owned gelaterie which has been open since 1929.
Perchè no? – Italian for “why not?” and trust us there is really no reason not to try this Gelateria, in a small street by via dei Calzaiouli its right in the heart of the city. You need to try Buontalenti and all the classics. The good news is they also offer a few vegan and lactose-free choices, our favorite being the Nocciola made with soy milk.
Edoardo Il Gelato Biologico – If you are at the Duomo and want good gelato beware of the tourist traps that lie at every corner. However, to the far right and at the back of the duomo, this little spot which prizes 100% organic ingredients, will definitely not disappoint.
Gelateria dei Medici – This gelateria has two locations, the newest can be found in Piazza Beccaria. Here Fruit is the word. Any fruit you can possibly imagine and you’ll find it cut in half and filled with its own gelato… You need to see it to believe it.
Badiani – If you are planning to see a soccer match at the stadium or by any chance you end up on Viale dei Mille, Badiani is a mandatory stop. Try Crema, Buontalenti and Nocciola!
Sbrino – With two locations, one at Porta Romana and the other on the nearby Via dei Serragli, Sbrino will have you covered for good gelato on their side of town!
SottoZero – In the northern side of town between the historical center and the University of Florence a Gelato not to miss.
If after reading this list you’re wondering if we personally tried all these gelato spots in Florence, stop wondering, go to Florence and start trying – but here’s a hint, how else would we have perfected our Gelato eating skills.