4 tips to maximise your gelato in Florence experience

The Florentine’s guide to surviving the summer: Part 1

Helen Farrell
May 28, 2015

When Florence becomes too hot to bear, residents and tourists turn to gelato as a survival strategy.


1. Gelato was born in Florence.

The first thing you should know is that gelato has Florentine origins. This knowledge will justify your copious ice-cream eating in Florence this summer. Believed to have been created by Caterina de' Medici, gelato was served by that noble lady to French guests when she married Henry II of France and moved her brigade of Florentine pastry chefs and cooks to Paris in 1533. (Read more about the origins of gelato in this article by Emiko Davies: theflr.net/xu7ncr.)


2. What to avoid.

Cold, refreshing and well textured, Florence’s best gelato is not always where you might think. Avoid places with brightly coloured towering piles. Often, the best gelaterias do not even display their delights, preferring to keep them stored at the right temperature in chilled stainless steel containers.



3. How to order.

You usually have to pay before you order. Choose between a cup (coppetta) or a cone (cono) and the size that you want. You’ll find that Florentines and long-term expats often go for the smallest possible dimension, preferring quality over quantity.


4. Choose your flavours.

Even you opt for the smallest version, you can still order two different varieties. A Florentine classic is buontalenti, a creamy vanilla made from egg yolks, complemented by refreshing fruity options such as lemon, strawberry and almond. Gelato making is not all about the traditional, however. The ice-cream scene is undergoing a revolution with the new generation of gelatai experimenting with unusual tastes, such as Chianti Classico (Edoardo, piazza Duomo), salted caramel (Grom, via dell’Oche) and black sesame (Gelateria Santa Trinita).


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In The Florentine’s grassroots spirit, we asked our readers on Facebook (www.facebook.com/TFnews) for their favourite gelaterias.

-Melany: Grom and Perche No?

-Marisa: Vivoli and La Sorbettiera

-Gabriella: My Sugar

-Lindsay: La Carraia

-Charlotte: Edoardo

-Breizy: Il Gallo Ghiottone

-Valentina: Gelateria dei Neri

-Mary: Gelateria La Passera, La Strega Nocciola

-Giacomo: Vestri

-Alexandra: Le Parigine, Carapina

-Helen: Il Re Gelato

-Rebecca: Badiani

-Vincenzo: Festival del Gelato


Get involved! Tell us your favourite Florentine and Tuscan gelato spots by emailing [email protected], commenting and sharing your gelato experiences on Facebook, Twitter @TheFlorentine #coolFlorence and Instagram @TheFlorentine.

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