My name is Laura and I’m addicted to gelato. I’d eat it morning, afternoon or night, winter, spring, summer or fall. I’d eat any flavor you hand me, even though I’m a picky eater. So trust me, I’ve done my research for finding the best gelaterias in Florence.
Tips for finding good gelato
Gelato is one of Italy’s most famous exports, behind pizza and spaghetti, but you haven’t tasted anything until you’ve sampled the creamy, icy smooth, flavor-packed delight that is freshly made Italian gelato.
The key to choosing a good place to try gelato is to look for a few key characteristics. First, look for the phrase produzione propria, which means that the gelateria makes their own gelato from scratch. You’ll also often seen the English phrase “made on premises.” This guarantees fresh gelato made from fresh ingredients without any additives. Avoid any place with large mounds of decoratively displayed gelato. You never know how long that gelato has been sitting there!
It’s also not a bad rule to stick to gelaterias, which make only gelato, rather than buying it at a place that is also a bar or café. And don’t forget keep an eye on the price! A medium cone should cost you between €2-2.50.
With these simple guidelines, you should have no trouble finding quality gelato to satisfy your sweet tooth. But just in case you don’t feel like running any risk of tasting any mediocre flavors, here are my personal favorites in Florence.
Via dei Tavolini, 19
This place is my favorite for many reasons. First of all, it’s one of the oldest gelaterias that I know of, founded in 1939 and extremely central, located right off of the main drag of Via Calzaiuoli. Aside from the quality of its gelato (made on the premises, of course), it also has good prices for the quantity that they give you.
Perchè No! uses all-natural ingredients, and it even offers a few soy options for vegan and lactose-intolerant gelato lovers. Don’t be afraid to try some of their less common offerings such as Fiordilatte con miele e sesame (Milk flavor with honey and sesame), Torta di Mele (Apple Pie) and Dolce di Latte (Dulce de Leche). Although tempting, the Green Tea flavor didn’t hit the spot for me!
Gelateria La Carraia
Piazza Nazario Sauro, 25
Cross over the Arno river on the Ponte La Carraia, and you’ll find yourself in front of another fantastic gelateria. Right on the corner after you cross the bridge, the Gelateria La Carraia treats your wallet well while keeping your stomach happy. Grab a cone of Ricotta e Pere (Pear and Ricotta) and head outside to munch away while enjoying the views of the river and of the Ponte Vecchio.
Gelateria de’ Neri
Via dei Neri, 20
Gelateria de’ Neri is another winner for its variety of flavors and the rich quality of the gelato. The prices are a little higher, but they’re not at all unreasonable. If you’re up for it, try the semifreddo, which is a mousse similar to gelato. The Millefoglie flavor of mousse comes with a large piece of puff pastry on top!
Via Isola delle Stinche, 7
Founded in 1930, Vivoli deserves a mention for being Florence’s most famous gelateria. While the quality of the gelato is good, the prices are quite high and the shop is quite dark and dingy. Make sure to pay at the register first, then bring your receipt to the counter to get your treat.
The best flavors here are the more traditional ones, such as pistachio and chocolate. Vivoli is near Santa Croce—but check your map, as the roads in this area are quite twisty and confusing!