Studying Abroad in Florence: Picking the Best Gelateria

Italy is known for many things, but my favorite commodity so far is the gelato! Flavors range from baccio, which is chocolate hazelnut, to alle rosa, or rose flavored. While most shops serve similar flavors and have the same price range, an art form exists at choosing the best gelateria that will have the best and freshest gelato. So here are the tips I’ve learned from locals!

  1. Unless a shop is extremely busy (like my favorite Gelateria Dei Neri!), they shouldn’t have tons and tons of different flavors. This is because there is no way they would sell out of the gelato each day, which means it is not as fresh.
  2. The gelato should not be piled higher than the container it is in. The really good shops will keep it below the rim to keep the gelato at a correct and even temperature. So stay away from the places that pile it high!
  3. Real foods do NOT produce neon colors! If a gelateria is using fresh fruits and nuts, and not dye, the color of the gelato should be pastel or light. For example, pistachio should not be bright green but a pale green. Strawberry should also be a light pink. You want the freshest ingredients, so this is an important rule to follow!
  4. Lastly, Italy is all about using ingredients that are in season, because that means they weren’t frozen or imported. So, if you see peach flavored gelato in March, just know that it wasn’t made with fresh ingredients. The best places won’t have this flavor until July!

Now that you know the rules, here are my recommendations: Gelateri Dei Neri, Venchi, Filo, and Gelateria La Carraia. Dei Neri is so busy that they will have the more exciting flavors other shops might not have. You can also get an excellent panini right down the street for lunch!

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