Italy is full of gelato shops, and many of them serve up flavorful, fresh gelato made from natural ingredients. Many other gelaterie, though, sell gelato that’s been made at a factory, pumped full of chemicals, preservatives, and artificial colorings, and put on display in metal containers to look “artisanal.” Fact: it’s not.
If you want to experience some of the best gelato in Italy, you need to know where to go. Don’t worry: We can help. Read on for the results of our, ahem, “research” on where to find Italy’s best gelato!
The best gelato in Rome
Gelateria I Caruso
I Caruso (Via Collina, 15) might just be our favorite gelateria in Rome – and yet it remains a local secret. Opened more than 10 years ago, I Caruso is one of those rare true artisanal gelaterias; they make their gelato on site (you can even watch them do it!) from all fresh ingredients. Don’t miss their fondente, a super-creamy dark chocolate, or the fruit gelatos, which burst with flavor. And even if you usually say no to panna (whipped cream), say yes this time: It’s fresh-made, and the zabaglione (marsala wine-flavored) panna is to die for.
Rome foodies call Claudio Torcè, the mastermind behind Gelateria Torcè the master for his crazy-creative flavors and high-quality, all-organic ingredients. Try his creations out for yourself, and prepare to be daring: would you prefer the gorgonzola with vinegar, ricotta with coconut and chocolate chips, or chili-flavored chocolate? Don’t worry — there are more than 100 flavors, so you’ve got choices.
With such creative flavors as apple, almond and cinnamon, or the famous “Kentucky” (tobacco, cinnamon, and dark chocolate), Fatamorgana‘s another one for serious gelato lovers. The flavors, more than 60, change seasonally, and use all-fresh, high-quality ingredients. The most central location is in Prati, so reward yourself with a cup after you visit the Vatican.
A classic, Ciampini is one of your best bets in Rome’s centro storico. Even the fruit flavors somehow manage to be both creamy and flavorful, opposed to the grainy fruits you tend to get elsewhere. If it’s in season, opt for the castagna — a chestnut flavor with bits of chewy chestnut mixed in. If you don’t mind spending two or three times as much, sit at the cafe’s outdoor tables and watch well-heeled Italians strolling by on the lovely Piazza San Lorenzo in Lucina.
Gelateria dei Gracchi
Another one to reward yourself with after the requisite visit to St. Peter’s. Gelateria dei Gracchi features all-organic, fresh ingredients create flavors that pop — like chocolate-and-rum (made from fondant, not cocoa powder), or pistachio (made with fresh-roasted Sicilian pistachios). Don’t miss the bonbons, either.
The best gelato in Florence
Gelateria dei Neri
Gelateria dei Neri is on many lists of the best gelato in Italy, and for good reason. A local favorite, this artisanal gelateria boasts some particularly unusual flavors, like gorgonzola and rice, alongside classics like stracciatella (chocolate-chip), caramel and mango. They even offer Sicilian brioche, so you can make a delicious gelato sandwich, too.
One of the most famous gelaterie in Florence, Vivoli also makes its gelato fresh, and they won’t sell you anything that they haven’t made that same day. The flavors, which change often, include pear with caramel and chocolate with orange. Just don’t be surprised by some of Vivoli’s quirks: Given its fame (and pride), it’s some of the more-expensive gelato in Florence, the portions aren’t huge, and, like many other artisanal gelaterie, they’ll refuse to give you anything but a cup (cones distract from the gelato flavor). But it’s worth a stop if you’re in the neighborhood.
This gelateria, run by a Sicilian couple, offers not only gelato, but cannoli, brioche, and other Sicilian specialties (for more on cannoli you can read our blog on Italian sweet treats). But the frozen treats are what to come for. There aren’t any preservatives or artificial colorings in this gelato, and the lemons are imported from Sicily every week. On a hot summer day, a granita from Carabé can make everything better.
Festival del Gelato
A true crowd-pleaser, Festival del Gelato is also particularly easy to get to, located near the Duomo. Despite being noticed by tourist guides from Frommers to Rick Steves, it continues to be a favorite of both tourists and locals, churning out more than 60 yummy flavors, from profiterole to rose to green apple (with all the classic flavors, too).
The best gelato across Italy, from Verona to Naples
RivaReno (across Italy – Lake Cuomo, Florence, Rome, Milan, Torino, etc.)
Thanks to its popularity, RivaReno‘s outposts are now found throughout Italy (there are 10 in total, including three in Milan and three in Turin). But its gelato remains top, thanks to the fresh ingredients and the refusal to use hydrogenated fats or artificial preservatives, coloring, or synthetics. Creative flavors include delicious fusions like “Alice” (mascarpone with gianduia sauce) or “Morena” (cream with whole, black cherries and black cherry sauce).
Il Massimo del Gelato (Milan)
Cars double-park and people line up out the door for this gelateria in Milan – and it’s no surprise why. The flavors are intense (and, as the carts of fruit lined up as you walk in remind you, made from real food), with happy customers raving about everything from the almond to the chocolate with cinnamon and peperoncino. Il Massimo del Gelato is a bit off the beaten path, but worth the requisite bus, tram, or cab to get there.
You know the drill by now: fresh, high-quality ingredients make for excellent gelato. And that’s true at Gay-Oden, too. This beloved establishment is over 100 years old, and has a few storefronts around Naples. The company also makes specialty chocolates, so you can be assured that their cioccolato gelato flavors are wildly delicious.
Insider’s Tip: Craving more gelato in Naples? Our friends at Devour Tours have a list of the top six gelato shops in the city.
Alberto Marchetti (Turin)
Alberto Marchetti has won lots of prizes for his handmade gelato. It’s all fresh-made (all gelato is served within 24 hours from when it’s made), and flavors range from the traditional (peach, cream, zabaglione) to more-creative (try the bonet, a flavor based on a traditional dessert from Piedmont). There’s brioche and Sicilian granita, too.
La Boutique del Gelato (Verona)
La Boutique del Gelato’s deliciousness comes from real foods and fruits, not from artificial flavors or colorings. Flavors range from traditional to off-the-beaten-path, like khaki fruit or fresh dates. For something even more different, try one of the wine sorbets: would you like frozen moscato, spumante, or amarone?
Gelateria Dondoli (San Gimignano)
Despite being on the main piazza of touristy San Gimignano, Gelateria Dondoli’s hung onto its roots – and continues to deliver up some of the best gelato in Tuscany, as evidenced by a long list of national and international prizes. Made fresh daily, without the use of preservatives, the flavors are creative and delicious, including crema di Santa Fina (cream with saffron and pinenuts), raspberry and rosemary, and sangue di bue (spicy chocolate with sour cherries).
Update notice: This article was updated on May 22, 2023.
Want to try some of the best gelato in Rome with us? Lucky for you, this beloved sweet treat caps off our Testaccio Neighborhood Food & Market Tour. It’s the perfect way to end a morning exploring Rome’s most traditional neighborhood!
by Walks of ItalyView more by Walks ›
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