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Gelato in Florence
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Where to eat the best gelato in Florence

The best gelato in Florence is a national treasure served at local shops that have been around for years. Dig in!

Written by
Georgette Jupe
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Eating gelato in Florence is an absolute joy. How could it not be? Florence is one of the world’s great artistic cities, and who doesn’t love gelato? Combine the two, and you have an experience that gets better with every lick.

Where to find the best gelato in Florence? Follow our guide, and you won’t go wrong. The best gelato here, like everything else, is tinged with history. Some say it was invented here in the 16th century courtesy of Catherine de’ Medici, although we’re not about to get involved in such arguments. We just want to eat the stuff while immersing in the best things to do here. Save room for the restaurants, obviously.

Best gelato in Florence

Perché No!...
Photograph: Courtesy Tripadvisor/Viennaberry

1. Perché No!...

This historical, tiny gelateria with a funny name that translates to “why not” has been in operation since 1939, smack-dab in the centre of the city between Piazza Signoria and Piazza della Repubblica. There’s plenty on offer, from a selection of semifreddo (mousse-like desserts) to vegan-friendly gelato options and some made with soy milk. Although there is clearly much to appreciate, we’re partial to anything made with ginger, honey, sesame and seasonal fruit flavours.

A worthy detour from Mercato Centrale and the busy San Lorenzo neighbourhood is the bright and inviting artisanal gelateria run by young (newlywed) couple Alberto and Julia alongside Alberto’s sister Debora. Wanting to be part of the San Lorenzo neighbourhood’s own recent type of “renaissance,” the trio shops at the local market for fresh ingredients each morning to create the 16 daily flavours that bring together a lovely blend of locals and students. We love the cremino with hazelnut and Asian-inspired black milk tea and black sesame but, of course, you’ll also find the much sought-after classics such as tiramisu, pistachio and a chocolate concoction made with Chianti wine.

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A well-respected institution in Florence since 2008, Carapina is the brainchild of Simone Bonini, who was tired of seeing the same old-school methods when it comes to presenting gelato. His gelateria – by Piazza Beccaria in the pretty, residential area of Piazza Oberdan – takes on a more modern and fresh appeal with elegant interiors and videos showcasing his gelato-making process. Of course, there are interesting flavours that always surprise. For those who are a tad more adventurous, the cheese-inspired gusti, made with pecorino, mozzarella di bufala and gorgonzola is the way to go. Lovers of the traditional can opt for the nocciolafior di latte or dark chocolate fondente.

 

It must be a divine gift from Michelangelo’s David (who is just down the road) for there to be a great gelato shop for close to 20 years near the Accademia gallery dedicated to well-made Sicilian flavours that always impress. We tend to go for the Bronte pistachio, dried fig, Malaga (a delicate rum-scented cream with soaked raisins) and seasonal fresh fruit sorbet. You also can’t miss the icy granite as the weather gets warmer, especially the mandarin and almond versions. Another hot tip? The staff serves cannoli that are filled on the spot.

 

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A tiny gelateria always with a line, this destination takes its name from the square it calls home, one of the most charming places to stop, sit and enjoy life for a moment in the Oltrarno (the “other side of the river” neighbourhood). Owner Cinzia created a slice of heaven on this corner of the city, where she offers high-quality, artisanal favourites such as coffee and pistachio and one of the loveliest mint/milk combinations you’ll ever taste. More exotic choices include the popular “profumi d’oriente,” made with fresh ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, saffron and lemon. Also, find milk-free sorbet options that are equally delicious.

Next time you watch a soccer game at the Florence stadium, make sure to pop by one Badiani, one of the city’s historic gelateria. Now run by the Pomposi family, you’ll find this elegant, wood-lined space home for gelato but also fresh pastries and elaborate cakes, all of which are fiercely beloved by those residing in the area. Go for the signature “Buontalenti” trademark flavour, a cream concoction whose recipe is a closely-guarded secret.

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With two locations in residential areas of the city – Statuto (now easily reachable by tram) and Piazza Beccaria – the old-school Gelateria De’ Medici is where many locals come for a sweet treat after lunch or dinner and often after-school runs. Although the staff respects tradition, it doesn’t shy away from more interesting combinations like gorgonzola and pear. Also, ask about the elaborate cakes that can be personalized for any celebration. 

Gelato has always been a family affair for Antonio, the passionate owner of La Sorbettiera in Piazza Tasso, a quiet square in the beloved San Frediano neighbourhood that mostly attracts locals, a meaningful choice for the owner. He started apprenticing in a gelato shop owned by his brother and sister-in-law at the age of 16 in Germany before continuing the sweet journey in Florence with his wife, Elisa. Their tiny outpost nestled in the square is an accumulation of their curious and worldly passion, constant research into new flavours and combinations in 16 daily fresh offerings, all the while adhering to using the best raw materials money can buy. You’ll find a delicious blend of classic favourites such as Bronte pistachio, Antonio’s mouth-watering signature salted caramel and a rich “Catrame” 75% chocolate, also available in sorbet form. Also, expect concoctions inspired by the couple’s two children and more exotic combinations: think turmeric and almond, gorgonzola and pine nuts.

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Gelateria Caminia
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Alba Arya P.

9. Gelateria Caminia

A stone’s throw from the Gavinana area is the lovely old-school Gelateria Caminia, a family-owned business serving locals in the area since 1987 and purposely outside of the historical ring of the centre. The shop has been taken over by passionate young daughter Lavinia, who first started serving scoops aged 16. She’s dedicated to keeping quality ingredients and natural flavours front and centre, and you’ll find more than 30 varieties plus ice cream cakes made and the iconic crema caminia, a blend of cream, egg, sugar and milk, the most requested flavour.

Il Procopio
Photograph: Courtesy Tripadvisor/wextravelgal

10. Il Procopio

Towards Sant’Ambrogio and just off Piazza Ciompi, Procopio is a friendly, shining star for those who are craving creamier flavours, especially the signature “follia del Propocopio.” You’ll also want to indulge in great takes of the classics, think lemon, pistachio and cremino with optional toppings and an excellent selection of seasonal granite (we always go for the watermelon), plus options for frappe drinks.

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Loosely translated as “the cellar of gelato,” we say skip the overpriced, mass-produced gelato on Ponte Vecchio and head over to this small shop close to the Arno serving natural, artisan-made ice cream in a lovely, fresh space. There’s always something new and exotic to try among the more typical flavours of Tahiti vanilla, pistachio, coffee and dark chocolate: go for the vin santo and cantuccini (a cool take on Tuscany’s sweet dessert wine served with almond cookies). We also love all of the delicious fruit flavours (ask for Acai berry if it’s on offer and tumeric with fig) that can also be made into smoothies.

Undoubtedly one of the most historic and well-known gelaterias in the city, have you even visited Florence if you didn't go to Vivoli? The venue’s origins date back to 1926, making it a survivor of the war and the great Arno flood of 1966. The neon sign and old-school interiors (where, yes, there are seats) are still mainstays, as is the dedication to making the gelato daily, along with a selection of fresh pastries and semifreddo desserts. It tends to get crowded, and is a little pricier than you might expect, but for those who appreciate historic consistency, this place still churns out great treats. We love the amarena, lime and mint, saffron and the very Florentine zabaione (similar to eggnog).

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