There are few things in this world that are as well known as gelato and having had my fair share, I can attest that this fame is definitely warranted! Gelato is basically Italy’s ice cream. Unlike ice cream, however, gelato has less fat due to the use of milk instead of cream and fewer egg yolks, if any. The two also differ considerably in texture. Ice cream is fluffier and airier due to a faster churning process, whereas gelato is slow-churned, giving it its denser, milkier consistency.
In Italy gelato is a main staple of everyday life, no matter the season. Every town has innumerable locations where one can go for a gelato and each person has their own favorite place. The decision then becomes which flavors, since there are as many as the day is long. Some places stick to the standard, tried and true. Others pride themselves on unusual and quirky combinations.
I’ve tried many flavors over the years and I’ve always been partial to fiordilatte (the simplest flavor, basically fresh milk) and bacio (chocolate hazelnut with hazelnuts and chocolate chips). Although a couple of summers ago I discovered nutella flavor, which quickly became my new favorite…can you blame me?
In terms of my favorite gelaterie in Italy, I’ve never met a gelateria I didn’t like. But if I had to make a list it would look a little something like this…
Florence – Vivoli (in Santa Croce)
Gelateria Ponte alla Carraia (on the oltr’Arno side of that bridge)
Rome – Gelateria Oldbridge (near the Vatican)
Venice - Il Gelatone
Bologna - Le Tre Gemme
Rionero in Vulture (my hometown) – Bar Gelateria 2000
These are the places I gravitate towards whenever I am in these cities or towns, however one of my favorite things about traveling to Italy is always discovering and trying out new places. And you should definitely do some discovering of your own…where will your favorite gelateria be?