Whatever your age, nothing quite beats strolling through the streets of Florence while enjoying a refreshing and wonderfully indulgent scoop of Italian gelato. Differing from ice cream in density, texture and flavour, gelato is rich and milky with less fat and a more intense taste. With myriad parlours offering hundreds of varieties, follow our guide to the best places to taste authentic Italian gelato in Florence.
La Carraia, named after the famous Ponte alla Carraia Bridge, has been making gelato for over 25 years. The gelateria presents a broad range of traditional and contemporary Florentine flavours, with classics such as hazelnut and pistachio, made using nuts from Sicily. Visitors with a sweet tooth will savour flavours with toppings, such as cookies, black cherry and cheesecake, while the seasonal fruit flavours are particularly refreshing on a warm summer’s day. Have your gelato served in a cone, a cup, a wafer, or, for an interesting take on the ice cream sandwich, a brioche bun. La Carraia has two gelaterias in Florence: a flagship on Piazza Nazario Sauro and a second, smaller outlet on via de’Benci.
The oldest gelato parlour in Florence, Vivoli has been in business since 1932. Since opening its first outlet in the holiday town of Saltino, Vivoli has gone from being a small dairy to a leading name in the Italian gelato industry with a famous gelateria in the centre of Florence. Visit the boutique on Via dell’isola delle Stinche to explore a wealth of flavoursome gelato, which is made fresh every day in the workshop. Whether you prefer traditional flavours such as cream, chocolate and vanilla, combinations like dried figs and walnuts or pear and caramel, or distinctive tastes like eggnog, there’s plenty to choose from at Vivoli.
Founded in 2008 by entrepreneur Simone Bonini, Carapina is a gourmet ice cream producer famous for the quality of its raw ingredients, many of which are sourced locally. The gelateria presents an ever-changing, 16-strong menu of gourmet gelatos featuring uncommon ingredients including Parmesan, apricot and mulberry. For an adults-only treat, try alcohol-infused flavours such as cream of whisky, or sample the signature IGrandiFormaggiItaliani, a salty gelato often served as an accompaniment to savoury dishes. Carapina has two parlours in Florence, one that is located steps from the Ponte Vecchio on Via Lambertesca and another on Piazza Oberdan.
If you’re following an organic diet and assume you can’t eat gelato in Florence, think again. Edoardo is the first certified organic gelato parlour in Tuscany. The workshop uses only organic ingredients to ensure that its wide selection of gelatos and sorbets are free from chemicals, additives, GMOs and dyes. What’s more, everything is made in-house, right down to the cones. For a taste of tradition, try one of the popular recipes inspired by the owner’s grandparents, such as Zabaione Nonna Antonietta, a blend of fresh eggs, milk, sugar, and white raisin wine.