Gelaterias thrive in their home city of Florence. Unlike their cousins the ice cream, gelati have a firm texture. It’s all in how they’re made: lesser fat, slower churn, and higher serving temperature. Not all gelati are made equal, so here is a list of the best gelato in Forence.
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- 1. The City Center’s Perche No!
- 2. Santo Spirito’s Gelateria della Passera
- 3. Sant’Ambrosio’s Il Procopio
- 4. San Lorenzo’s My Sugar
- 5. San Niccolo’s Cantina del Gelato
- 6. Santa Croce’s Gelateria dei Neri
- 7. Edoardo • City Center’s Edoardo
- 8. City Center’s or San Niccolo’s La Strega Nocciola
- 9. San Frediano’s Gelateria La Carraia
- Tips & Tricks
1. The City Center’s Perche No!
Found near the Duomo is a shop that people line up for time and again. Perche No! (which means “Why Not!”) presents a mix of classic and unique flavors that are handmade daily with local Italian ingredients—Langhe hazelnuts, Bronte pistachios, San Gavrino saffron, and Tuscan rose are just a few examples.
Though their classic flavors are already to die for, it’s their one-of-a-kind flavors that keep people coming back for more. They offer matcha green tea, sesame honey, and rose, and that’s just the beginning. On top of that, they also have six to eight dairy- and vegan-free choices that can be paired with gluten-free cones.
2. Santo Spirito’s Gelateria della Passera
The Mona Lisa is not just a painting. Fronted by a little piazza is a gelato shop that serves a different kind of Mona Lisa, crafted with orange blossom, apple, walnuts, and cognac-steeped raisins. Or perhaps hazelnut and chocolate–orange, other flavors that recur through changing seasons, would better suit your fancy.
If that wasn’t enough to tempt you, then know that these rich, creamy pickings can all be yours for only €1 per scoop!
3. Sant’Ambrosio’s Il Procopio
Il Procopio is a bit off the beaten path, but more than makes up for it with a dizzying assortment of flavors, from lemon basil sorbet to sachertorte swirled with Viennese chocolate cake. They offer 20 seasonal flavors from over 200 recipes that cycle each year. Whichever the flavor, you’ll find a bite in every crunch thanks to their well-mixed in toppings. Go for their aware-winning signature, the Il Procopio. It’s a delightful treat of candied orange peel in almond gelato, almond slices, and toasted pistachios.
4. San Lorenzo’s My Sugar
This shop is the go-to for visitors looking for the full-bodied flavors of fresh fruits and herbs. Their signature smoothness come from produce delivered straight from San Lorenzo Market. It has the best of both worlds: classics such as Stracciatella and pistachio, and for the more adventurous, black sesame, rose, mint basil, and mango.
5. San Niccolo’s Cantina del Gelato
If you’re looking to avoid crowds, visit this intimate gelateria at the southern tip of Ponte Vecchio. They pair beloved flavors with cheese to add some tang with every bite: walnut and chèvre, apple and gorgonzola, and Nutella and mascarpone. They offer the thrill of the tropical with açaí from Brazil, then the comforting reassurance of home with local fruits, nuts, and dairy. While you’re there, have a taste of their best-selling black rice, passionfruit sorbet, and turmeric fig, and go for their signature flavor—hazelnut gelato with Nutella and almonds.
6. Santa Croce’s Gelateria dei Neri
Classics done poorly are a crutch, but done well are absolutely thrilling. Visit Gelateria dei Neri tucked between Uffizi and Santa Croce Basilica even at midnight to experience their pistachio, salted caramel, and dark chocolate. Yet staples are not all to their wide array of flavors. They offer refreshing granitas (Italian ices) in summer and indulgent semi-freddos (a cross between frozen mousse and ice cream cake) in winter. They also display a few experimental flavors, fresh fruit sorbets, and frozen yogurt.
7. Edoardo • City Center’s Edoardo
Edoardo prides itself in being old school with a twist of contemporary. Their setup is retro, their ingredients unique, and their waffle cones made in house all day, every day. Make sure to claim a ticket stub and queue for their 100% organic flavors made with white wine, gianduja (chocolate hazelnut), cinnamon, and lavender. They even have vegan options and sorbets without dairy. Look for them around the Duomo.
8. City Center’s or San Niccolo’s La Strega Nocciola
La Strega Nocciola (The Hazelnut Witch) is a crone with two homes, both in the pulsing center of Florence. Choose either the shop near the Duomo or the one south of the Ponte Vecchio. Whatever flavor you pick is a fresh, creamy treat. You could have cinnamon fused with white chocolate, Buontalenti, bergamot, and even blood orange! But of course, their tried and true flavor is their namesake, the hazelnut. Whichever you pick, every flavor is a delight served with a sliver of waffle on top.
9. San Frediano’s Gelateria La Carraia
Late-night snackers will find a kindred spirit in this shop that stays open right up until midnight. Its 40 flavors are robust with chocolate selections of many kinds: dark, white, milk, chocolate hazelnut, chocolate chip, chocolate waffle, and chocolate orange. It also serves rich classics to cater to those who are traditional at heart. Prices that start at €1 and luscious flavors keep the lines long but worth it.
Don’t waste your trip to Florence eating low-quality stuff. Miss the alluring but poor-tasting mounds of gelato and make a beeline for the elegance of gelato crafted in small batches.
Tips & Tricks
Look for gelaterias with the word “artigianale,” meaning artisanal. This is a sure sign that their gelati are made in house using only high-quality ingredients. But if this word is missing, still keep your eyes peeled for gelati that come in colors found in the natural world—light-green or pale brown pistachios and white lemons, for example. They should also come in stainless-steel lids and tins, which store the products at the best temperature for gelati.
If visual cues aren’t enough, ask for a taste! Great shops are happy to let you, while those without confidence in their own recipes aren’t.
In contrast, avoid suspiciously high and bright mountains of gelati. Those are definitely stored at the wrong temperature with weird texture and taste due to high fat content. They were probably also made with artificial ingredients to help bring out those zany hues.
Enjoy the variety available and get at least two flavors. Even a small cup can hold two, and if that’s not enough, extra-large cups and cones can hold as much as four.
A must-try is the Buontalenti, a flavor found only in Florence. Its namesake, Vernardo Buontalenti, designed it to taste rather like sweet cream and condensed milk.