Strolling around the streets of Rome you will see a gelato place on EVERY corner (sometimes multiple stores in the same block). How do you know which gelato is worth spending your money and calories on?
Tips for Authentic Gelato
To find the best tasting and most natural gelato – look for the following when picking a shop.
Color – you are looking for a natural (almost pastel) color. Very bright colors generally indicate the addition of artificial coloring and chemicals. If it looks like a highlighter it will likely taste like it.
Piled High – if the gelato is showcased in giant mounds it is likely produced off site in a factory or whipped, a true gelato should be creamy, whipping it up adds air which gives a lower quality product.
Look at the surroundings – do you see bags of artificial flavors – that’s likely an indicator of what in the gelato. Do you see ice cream making equipment / or talk to the owners to see how they make it, many touristy spots will make the ice cream off site – you are looking for a place where they make it in house.
On my trips to Italy – it was not uncommon for us to have 2-3 gelatos everyday from different shops. We wanted to try all of the flavors as well see how each shop could make the same flavor taste completely different. While TripAdvisor generally had very good suggestions for Gelato stops – some where hits while others were definitely misses – so we have compiled the following list of our top 5 shops.
Here are the Top 5 Gelato Shops in Italy (Florence, Rome and Venice)
Gelateria Vivaldi – Florence, Italy
By far the #1 Gelato place I have ever visited is Gelateria Vivaldi . The double cream flavor was so creamy and tasty. This was one of our first stops when we got to Florence and we visited 3 times over the course of a week. The staff is very friendly and will help pick a flavor that you will enjoy. Though the selection is not as large as some of the other places on the list, the quality is incomparable. The sitting area in the back of the shop was very comfortable and a great place to savor the Gelato.
Della Palma Gelato di Roma – Rome, Italy
Della Palma Gelato is just blocks away from Piazza Navona near the Spanish Steps. It will likely be very busy but the service is very quick (though it may be difficult to find a seat). After paying for your gelato, you get to choose from the over 150 flavors they offer each day. Though the store is a little touristy, the quality was still great and the vast selection offered many options that were not found in other stores.
Gelateria La Carraia – Florence, Italy
La Carraia can be found near the river in Florence. You will find some of the creamiest gelato in Italy here. While the selection is fairly large, the quality is great and the price is very cheap. Its hard to find anyone who doesn’t like their Gelato. The best flavors were the biscotti and chocolate ones, and don’t forget to get the whipped cream on top.
Alaska Gelateria – Venice, Italy
Found near the Saint Lucia train station, Alaska Gelateria was the best we had in the city (though don’t expect it to be as good as what you will find in Florence and Rome). Alaska is known for their artisanal selections which change daily. If you are vegan you will options here which is quite rare we found.
La Gelateria Fridgidarium – Rome, Italy
Located very close to Vatican City, Frigidarium‘s gelato is creamy and very tasty. They have the traditional flavors at a cheap price (3 scoops for 3 euros). They also will dip your gelato in either milk chocolate or white chocolate and top it off with whip cream. The have also opened a second location near Piaza Navona.