Finding gelato in Italy is easy. Finding awesome gelato in Italy is far trickier, especially in a touristy city life Florence.
The places with crappy gelato spend their money on location and marketing. The places with awesome gelato spend their money on quality ingredients and their time on high-quality, small-batch production.
This means that gelato stand that’s conveniently located right next to the Duomo with the mounds of colorful ice cream piled high in the window is not where I’m going to send you. In my opinion, avoid these places at all costs. Walk a little further to a place with an unassuming sign and gelato kept either in stainless steel covered pots or on display in small pans.
Gelateria dei Neri
Gelateria dei Neri has served delicious gelato on Via dei Neri since 1989. It seems like they have a new flavor to try all the time, plus favorite flavors that are always available. The cioccolato amaro, a pure dark chocolate gelato that’s unimaginably think is worth a try at least once. Be careful to only order the chocolate with chili pepper if you want something a bit spicy. Other fun flavors are ricotta with fig, caramel, cookies and cream, and pistachio. Even if you usually don’t like pistachio ice cream, try this, a good pistachio gelato is wonderful.
Address: Via dei Neri 9/10r
Just down the street is the place where I’ve eaten more gelato than anywhere else in Florence: Gelateria Cillo. When I return to Florence, it’s always one of the first places I stop. No matter how short the trip, I’m going to Cillo’s. Because the gelato is just that good and the owner is just that wonderful. My go-to flavor combination is strawberry and yogurt. Other flavors that I’ve tried and loved are banana, hazelnut, and chocolate chip.
Address: Via dei Neri, 51/r
La Strega Nocciola
I remember the night I found this place. We’d already had gelato that day (twice, actually) when we spotted La Strega Nocciola on our evening walk. I could see from across the street that their gelato was kept in closed stainless steel pots. Their name made me giggle, it means the nutty witch. We crossed the street and discovered some of the best gelato I’ve ever had. We both chose blood orange and yogurt. The creamy yogurt cut through the citrus of the orange perfectly.
I’ve only had the pleasure of eating here once (it was our last night in Florence when we found it!) but that night was no fluke. Reviews are positive everywhere I see them. People enjoy flavors like white chocolate cinnamon, lavender, bergamot, and hazelnut.
Address: Via de’ Bardi, 51/r