First, we need to establish two facts. Number one, ice cream and gelato are not the same. Gelato is churned at a slower rate, making it much more dense and flavorful than ice cream. Number two, Florence has the best gelato; this is probably because gelato was invented in Florence in the 16th century by Bernardo Buontalenti.
Lucky for you, I ate my body weight in gelato (plus some?) while I was in Florence.
Here are my top five gelaterias:
5. Tie: La Carraia and Gelateria dei Neri
La Carraia definitely boasts the cheapest gelato in Florence. While it wasn’t my favorite, it made the top five mostly because of the price. Sometimes you only have a euro in your wallet and you need to curb your craving to survive. Don’t get me wrong–La Carraia isn’t bad gelato. They have two locations (one on each side of the Arno); the original location across from the Ponte Alla Carraia is much better.
Price: 1 euro for a baby scoop
Flavor recommendation: Whatever you are craving! La Carraia has a huge selection.
Gelateria dei Neri
This gelateria was tasty, had a wide selection of flavors, and was dangerously located on the path that I took between classes. It can be crowded and busy inside, so I suggest taking your gelato for a walk or sitting along the Arno.
Price: 1.80 euro
Flavor recommendations: Straciatella (chocolate chip) and Menta (mint)
As you might learn as you read through this post, I had a thing for pear and chocolate gelato when I was in Florence. The best part of Amalo? They had a flavor that was pear with pieces of chocolate. I never walked out of Amalo without pear. In fact, I can’t even remember what other flavors I’ve had from Amalo (I always let them pick my second.) Once I literally ran to class because I thought I had time to grab a cup before I left. I didn’t.
Price: 2.50 euro
Flavor recommendations: Pera con Cioccolato (pear with chocolate) and Nocciola (hazelnut), because that’s what my roommate always got, but please please please don’t get them together.
Rivareno was only a block away from our apartment and started the semester as my favorite gelateria, until I did more “research.” They still hold a strong place in my top five: points get knocked off for odd hours and a limited selection of rotating flavors. The selection might be slim, but the flavors always taste incredibly fresh. Locals suggested we go here for gelato when we asked for gelato recommendations during our school orientation.
Price: 2.50 euro
Flavor recommendations: Pera (pear) and Cioccolato Fondente (dark chocolate)
2. Edoardo (Il Gelateria Biologico)
Edoardo is Beyonce’s favorite place for gelato and I have to say, she’s got good taste. Her favorite is the Cannella (cinnamon) and it’s my favorite flavor there too. While the Chianti red wine sorbet might be tempting, I suggest staying away. It doesn’t pair well with other flavors.
Typically I would recommend staying away from the touristy areas when finding a good gelato, Edoardo is an exception. You might have to take a number and wait in line, but your senses will be entertained. Gaze at the Duomo and inhale the smell of fresh made waffle cones while you wait. Oh, and the best part about Edoardo? They have late hours.
Price: 3.50 euro for a VERY LARGE small cone
Flavor recommendations: Cannella (cinnamon) and Miele e Lavanda (honey lavender)
1.THE BEST GELATO IN FLORENCE: Vivaldi
My first time at Vivaldi, I asked what was recommended. The response? “I can’t pick a favorite, they are all my babies.” The person who serves the gelato there literally makes and invents the flavors himself. All ingredients are fresh and flavors rotate. If you’re looking for something unique, try the Ginger Mint (and pair it with the dark chocolate.) If that sounds a little to wild for you, get literally anything else. I haven’t had a flavor here that wasn’t so delicious that it blew my mind. I can’t find a picture of my own gelato at Vivaldi, probably because I was too excited to eat it to think about taking a photo.
It’s probably best that Vivaldi was across the city from my apartment. I would have been there every day if it was closer.
Price: 2.50 euro
Flavor recommendations: Ginger Mint and Dark Chocolate
All prices are for the smallest size available and are from memory–they might have changed (and I could be misremembering!) Do you have a different favorite gelato shop? Let me know so I can check out–and let me know your go-to flavors.