My Month in Gelato (and then some)

Everywhere you turn in Florence you come across another gelato shop and once you think you’ve seen them all, there’s another one. The experts say that the true gelato doesn’t have all the showy decoration, it is lighter than ice cream and is displayed in covered tins. Gelato is a way of life here during my semester abroad. If you don’t eat gelato everyday you’re doing it all wrong. 35 different gelaterias and 41 total cups (or cones) of gelato later my top three locations in Florence are Gelateria La Carraia, Gelateria dei Neri and Cantina del Gelato.

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Day 1: Caffe Fiorenza Gelateria was our first gelato stop in Florence, and like any “tourist” we were drawn in by the decorative flavors. It was good, but it definitely more like ice cream than gelato. You live and you learn.

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Day 2: My Sugar won the 2016 gelato festival and their dark chocolate gelato won my heart.

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Day 3: Grom was on every recommendation list I received, so of course I had to check it out. Their lemon and chocolate gelato did not disappoint. This place is definitely at the top of my list.

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Day 4: Having the view of Carabe Gelateria from my bedroom window isn’t too bad, but their gelato definitely isn’t my favorite, it has more of an ice-y texture.

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Day 5: We came upon Caffe delle Carrozze at the beginning of Ponte Vecchio. Dark chocolate and chocolate chip was my choice here.

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Day 6: I was a little hesitant to try Gelateria Pasco (located in Piazza Santa Maria Novella), because the window says “Ice Cream is Always a Good Idea.” That is a completely true statement, but gelato and ice cream are two very different things. However, I was totally wrong. Their chocolate hazelnut and biscotti (cookie) were delicious!

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Day 7: The gelato from Edoardo was so far the best I’ve had near the Duomo. The watermelon was so fresh and refreshing, there were still seeds in it, and the dark chocolate was delicious.

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Day 8: La Strega Nocciola is just down the street from my apartment and would never be a bad choice. It wasn’t my absolute favorite but also wasn’t the worst. I got white chocolate cinnamon and dark chocolate. The white chocolate cinnamon tasted just like a cinnamon roll and it was so great!

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Day 9: Venchi was fabulous, and not just because their wall is a chocolate fountain. I got chocolate ricotta and dark chocolate and they were both delicious. The chocolate ricotta tasted like a cannoli in gelato form and it was amazing.

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Day 10: Gelateria Dondoli was purely amazing. Located in San Gimignano which is known as the birthplace of gelato, and it did not disappoint. I got chocolate chip and pink grapefruit sparkling wine. This unique flavor was so light, refreshing and delicious.

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Day 11: Gelateria dei Neri is officially my favorite gelateria in Florence. There were so many unique flavors it was so hard to decide. I ended up getting cheesecake and cookies and cream and they were life changing, this will definitely not be my last time at Gelateria dei Neri.

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Day 12: Amalo was not one of my favorites. I got dark chocolate and biscotti (cookie). The dark chocolate was decent but the biscotti tasted odd compared to others.

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Day 13: Rivareno Gelato was very good. Dark chocolate sorbet was my choice here, it was not my favorite, but not bad either. I think it’s pretty hard to mess up chocolate.

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Day 14: Gelateria La Carraia is tied with Gelateria dei Neri for my favorite gelato so far. Here I chose to get brownie and chocolate mousse which were simply amazing. This gelateria has so many different flavors of gelato, sorbet and mouse. I want to try them all.

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Day 15: Gelateria Santa Trinita let you choose three flavors and that has been one of my hardest decisions in Italy so far. I decided on lemon, peanuts and chocolate, and Santa Trinita. This was the first place I have seen any peanut butter-like flavors and it was delicious. The Santa Trinita was an amazing marscapone and chocolate, and the lemon was so refreshing.

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Day 16: Festival del Gelato had so many flavors to choose from. The shop is located right in tourist central, but inside it’s far from touristy. I tried the biscotti, which was good but not great, and chocolate cheesecake which was absolutely amazing.

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Day 17: Perche’no is tucked away just beyond the Duomo. Known for using natural ingredients it did not disappoint. I ordered nocciolosa which is milk with chocolate sauce and hazelnuts, this was delicious. I also got the rosso with biscotti. I was a little confused because it looked like biscotti, but apparently it was “Red Tea” flavored and that just got lost in translation. I’m not a fan of tea, but if I was I’m sure I would’ve loved it. I will definitely be back to try flavors I’m more accustomed to.

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Day 18: Smalzi is just a street away from my apartment, hidden away from the craziness of the Duomo on Via dei Servi. I got cremino, which was chocolate and cream, and chocolate. Both were decadent and delicious, good but definitely not the best.

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Day 19: Gelateria della Passera is hidden on the other side of the arno. They had an amazing selection of fruity flavors, such as blueberry or banana, but I stuck with chocolate and hazelnut. It was very good, but not my favorite. I would recommend it if you are in that area.

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Day 20: La Bottega del Gelato is not your ordinary gelato, they specialize in all natural gelato popsicles. I chose the chocolate, because what else would I choose? It tasted like a fudgecicle and was definitely a nice change of pace for my gelato choices.

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Day 21: Again, changing it up. At La Milkeria I ordered a nutella crepe, with chocolate gelato on top, of course. This gelato was so fluffy and creamy, and the crepe was delicious too!

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Day 22: Gelateria Antica Fiorentina is definitely higher up on my list. I got chocolate cookie and chocolate peanut butter (which is so rare in Florence, they were even selling jars of Skippy peanut butter). I absolutely LOVED the chocolate peanut butter!

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Day 23: Cantina del Gelato is definitely in my top three. It was amazing. I tried strawberry cheesecake and gusto della cantina. The cheesecake had real strawberry chunks in it and it tasted like I was eating a piece of cake. Gusto della cantina was hazelnut gelato with nutella chocolate and hazelnut crunch, it was a nice change from just plain chocolate or hazelnut, but the cheesecake truly stole my heart here.

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Day 24: During my day trip to Verona I obviously had to get some gelato. I stopped at Pretto where I got Treccioccolati which was a fantastic chocolate overload with chocolate gelato, nutella and chocolate truffle. I also got cremino al biscotto. They were both delicious, I would definitely recommend if you find yourself in Verona.

 

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Day 25: Ara is right around the corner from the David and my apartment. They are known for their cannoli’s, which was AMAZING, but the gelato was  not too good in my opinion. I got starichella (chocolate chip) and typical chocolate, but they were kind of ice-y tasting and the starticella had a strange aftertaste.

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Day 26: Gelateria Cillo is just down the street from Gelateria dei Neri and it is very good. I got tiramisu and dark chocolate which were both delicious. I definitely like tiramisu better as a desert rather than a gelato, but it was definitely interesting.

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Day 27: Cioccolat Italiani drew my attention with giant cones and the smell of chocolate while I was in Milan. Here I got some kind of light chocolate and white chocolate and it was so good. I had never had white chocolate gelato before and it didn’t disappoint.

Day 28: La Crema Matta in Lucca was exceptional. Not only did they have gelato, but they had gelato cookie sandwiches, and of course I tried both. As for gelato, I got Oro Nero which was like a cookies and cream, and Baccio Matto which was a chocolate hazelnut and then they top it off with a cookie and drizzle it in chocolate–amazing. The gelato cookie sandwich definitely looked better than it tasted. The actual cookie was more like a biscotti instead of a chocolate chip cookie. This is a must try if you are ever in Lucca.

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Day 29: Don Nino was more expensive (4 euros), but it was definitely a lot of gelato. Located at the end of my street right near the Duomo it could have been a hit or miss. I got caramel and Oreo and they were so good. The location is perfect for getting that ideal Instagram and the giant cannoli’s are also a must try.

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Day 30: Vivoli, right near Santa Croce, was great. There I got dark chocolate and yogurt and there were no complaints.

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Day 31: I most definitely saved one of the best for last. La Sorbettiera is located deep on the other side of the river (about a 30 minute walk) in a more local Florentine area. It is right next to a park where there were groups of Italian children playing soccer after school and it truly gives you the authentic Florence experience. La Sorbettiera had super cool flavors, like the seasonal pumpkin, but I decided to go with Fondant al Rum which was chocolate with orange zest and Buontalenti which is a traditional Florentine cream/yogurt. They were amazing! If you need to get your steps in, or just want great gelato, I would definitely recommend making you way to La Sorbettiera.

Even though I completed my month, you can never have too much gelato.

 

IMG_9757Le Botteghe di Leonardo, on Via de’ Ginori, had a lot of unique fruit flavors. I went with cremino and fig stracciatella which was very interesting.

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Cremeria San Francesco was recommended to me as one of the best gelato places in Bologna and it was great. I got dark chocolate and mascarpone with chocolate cake and they were delicious.

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Il Gelato di San Crispino in Bologna was good. I decided to be risky and try the chocolate rum. It was WAY too much rum and not enough chocolate.

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Suso in Venice was very cool, I loved that their cups were cones and they had so many gluten free and vegan options. Venice is such a touristy city it is hard to find great places, but this one wasn’t too bad. I got strawberry cheesecake and orient express which was like a cinnamon ginger bread cookie. They gave you so much I couldn’t even finish it.

And some were so good I HAD to go back for more.

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La Carraia part two, I went to the original location on the oltarno. The line was out the door, but it was so worth it. I got biscotti and yogurt with Nutella which was delicious.

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Just like La Carraia, the original location of La Strega Nocciola is on the other side of the river near Ponte Vecchio. Again, I got the azteco and the La Strega Nocciola which was a hazelnut. I also tried the maya which is chocolate with chili powder, at first the chocolate was delicious but that chili powder has an incredibly spicy kick.

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My Sugar, the 2016 Gelato Festival Winners, was just as good a second time. I got chocolate chianti, which was chocolate with chianti wine, and tiramisu which was so good.

Gelateria dei Neri is SO good, I keep going back for more. One time I got strawberry cheesecake and dark chocolate (left) and then strawberry and chocolate cheesecake (right). Dei Neri never disappoints.

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Grom is always a good idea. As the seasons change, so do their flavors. This time I tried Bonet which a special type of chocolate and Torta di Mele which was a cinnamon/cookie/apple flavor and they were great.

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