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Best Gelato in Italy

Okay, so I know this will be controversial, but isn't gelato one of the great pleasures of Italy? Why hasn't it caught on in America? I'm referring to the creamy, light type of gelato one finds especially in Rome at places like Blue Ice--not the ice cream-like kind. Yes, Blue Ice is a chain, but the gelato is quite good. So, anyway, here's my question: What's the best gelato you've found in Italy? My hands-down vote goes to La Bottega del Gelato in Pisa. It's easy to find: follow Rick's walk from the train station to the Tower/Doumo/Baptistery and stop right after you cross the Ponte Selferino. La Bottega del Gelato sits immediately to the left in the piazza. Favorite flavors: chocolate mousse (so fluffy, they can't put it in a cone by itself--sells out quickly each day), fruitti di bosco yogurt, and chocolate fondue.

Posted by
689 posts

I can't tell you the names - but the best two are from Rick as well.

1 is in Orvieto - as you are facing the Duomo - it is to the left and toward the back.

2 is in Rome - on the Piaza Navona - in the middle, behind big fountain.

There is an issue with the density/richness of the cream in Italy vs US which is why American Gelato is not any where near as yummy as it is in Italy.

I see many Gelato signs - but the few I've tried don't come close.

Posted by
320 posts

Grom! There are many outlets. I know that there is at least one in Florence. Have Fun!

Posted by
7 posts

I second GROM in Florence!

And GROM has recently opened a store in NYC!

Posted by
705 posts

The best I had, and I did sample many while there recently, was a little shop across the road from the Vatican. I don't know the street or anything but when you line up on the curved road around the side of the Vatican it's across the road. Apparently it was the late Pope's favourite and he used to send out for supplies. It was seriously good. You will know the shop because it is always crowded.

Posted by
18 posts

The best gelato that we had was in San Gimignano at Gelateria di Piazza. The gelato is award winning. There are many flavours that we had not seen before such as cinnamon, passionfruit and such combinations as chocolate with orange.We heard about this place from a traveller we met in Siena who said it was the best and it was.

Posted by
25 posts

The best that I had was at Giolitti in Rome. It's maybe a couple of blocks north of the Pantheon. This was John Paul II's favorite geleato shop; he would even have the marrons glace shipped to Castel Gandolfo in the summer months.

Posted by
46 posts

Best Gelato for us (as of May, 2007) was "Davide" in Sorrento. The real one, not the one by the train station called "David". Also the restaurant beside it was awesome!

Posted by
7 posts

I think the gelato place in Piazza Navona is called Tre Scallini (spelling not sure). We were there in 1970 and 1971 BC (before children) and enjoyed their Tartuffo (a rich choclate dessert) and Limon Granita (a lemon ice type dessert).

So good we still remember it with great fondness. In fact, we'll be eating some there in a few weeks when we return in 2007 AC (after children).

Posted by
46 posts

Was just at Tre Scalini 2 weeks ago. Had the Tortufo (death by chocolate)and a Rossino (sweet wine with strawberry juice). Both were awesome! An expensive splurge, but worth it!

Posted by
36 posts

I'm visiting Venice and Verona this summer--any sugestions for the best gelato there?

Posted by
320 posts

In respose to Yvonne: Yes--a number of the gelaterias in San G. offer interesting flavors. As I recall, there were some wine-based gelatos to choose from, too.

Posted by
192 posts

I had never tasted gelato before our trip to Italy a year or so ago...I was completely hooked from the first 'bite'!. I tried 14 different flavors in 4 days, have NO idea where we got them all. I liked the fruit flavors the best...lemon, peach, strawberry...slobber, slobber, drool
Am now hinting for a gelato maker (the small kind) for Christmas!

Posted by
842 posts

We saw all the reccomendations about Giolittis, but didn't think it was worth a darn two weeks ago when we tryed it. ( we are chocoholics. and we do Gelato every day when we are in Europe!) In Rome proper we liked the Gelateria della Palma near the Pantheon.

Our best Gelato on this trip was a great shop on the Via G. Libertini in Lecce. They had a chocolate there that was the absolutly the richest I have ever tasted.

Our best Gelato ever was in a tiny place in Innsbruck, in the old town. We had taken a day off from skiing, toured Innsbruck, and had to have our daily Gelato.......didn't make any difference if it was winter or not! I think that they flavored their cholates with some sort of liquor......they were to die for!

Posted by
7 posts

Grom! They seem to have mastered it, even if the distinct individual shop mood has been lost to the chain store design. They get some of their ingredients from sources endorsed by the Slow Food movement, and some, if not all of the ingredients are organic. See web page for locations and details: http://www.grom.it/eng/pages/dove.htm

Posted by
6014 posts

Can't give you places anymore, but in general, if you can find small shops that make their own (unfortunately getting rarer) then you are on the right track. Find a fanatical owner, you got a winner. Best gelato ever for me was an Italian who owned a shop in Nafplio Greece. However, siiting on a piazza, watching the evening crowd or the sun set over the hills, makes mediocre gelato just fantastic.

Posted by
4737 posts

To follow on Paul's comment, look for the word "artigianale" on the shop ... a high probability that the gelato will be of high quality.

Posted by
805 posts

Tres Scalini (sp) in the Piazza Navona is beyond amazing. If you LOVE chocolate, try their Tartufo (like a brownie but different in an amazing way). In addition, if you walk up to the counter rather than sit down, it's cheap (2 euros for 2 scoops).

Posted by
45 posts

The Blue Ice off the Campo di Fiori.....Canoli Gelato. E' molto buono. Then too it's all good.

Posted by
127 posts

hahah! maybe the Q. should have been "what is the WORSE gelato place"...in Rome/Florence/Naples: there wasn't a gelato i did not like.

Posted by
6014 posts

To paraphrase an old quote, "Even the worst I had was very good!"

Posted by
808 posts

I've not yet had the pleasure of trying Gelato in Italy.
Isn't it like ice cream but made with milk instead of cream?
I saw it at a Supermarket Cafeteria locally. Will it be the same or different?

Posted by
320 posts

Depends on where you get it. In general, I've found that in Rome it is less like ice cream--much smoother and less dense. In Venice, on the other hand, it is very much like ice cream. My rule of thumb is that if the gelato place uses an ice cream-like scoop, I don't eat it. If they use a spatula-like device to dish it out, I eat it. The flavors are much more intense. My description falls far short--how can one adequately describe gealto? I'll stop with "It's much better than ice cream."

Posted by
320 posts

Oh--and what you get in the supermarket will definitely not be the same. (I'd live to be corrected on this, though, if someone knows of a good brand available in a supermarket.)

Posted by
1678 posts

There were no bad places, but the best was La Botique del Gelato in Venice (in Rick's book, worth looking for). Only 10 or so flavors a day but each was exquisite. I was in Italy 20 days and tried over 30 flavors (multiple flavors per try, of course). Best flavors: limoncello, fior di latte, panna cotta, fruti di bosco.

Posted by
1315 posts

My favorite was Caffe Gelateria on the Ostia beachfront, closely followed by a shop in Rick's guidebook that is over by the Vatican Museum (Caffe Millenia I think the name is).

I was incredibly disappointed not to be able to try gelato in Florence (we were only there for a day trip and didn't have time) but I intend to remedy that with another trip in the near future!

Posted by
805 posts

I don't know how true this is but I was told by a Roman guide we used that gelato was best in Rome and Florence because of the water. Don't know why or how true it is but just interesting.

Still, I agree that the worst I had in Italy was very very good, so you really can't go wrong.

Posted by
320 posts

Just returned from another trip to Rome and tried gelato made with pine nuts--delicious. Who would have thought . . . ?

Posted by
26 posts

I don't think searching out for the "best" gelato in Italy is a worthwhile endeavor. Anecdotally, I would say 1% of the seemingly tens of thousands of gelato places are extremely excellent,85% are excellent (good enough for me),13% fair, 1% poor.
So the odds of going into whatever the closest gelato place happens to be and getting an excellent gelato are pretty darn good. Don't fret over it, just go with it!