Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Mon October 03 2016

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  • A Cruising Couple | October 3, 2016 11:00 PM ET

    A Guide To The Best Gelaterias In Florence

    A Guide To The Best Gelaterias In Florence

    All photos by A Cruising Couple

    There are countless reasons to fall in love with Italy, but one of the top reasons we keep coming back time and time again is hands-down for the gelato. We’ve had more than our fair share of scoops across the country, but for the ultimate gelato experience, it doesn’t get any better than savoring the decadent dessert where it all started hundreds of years ago: Florence.

    Florence, Italy

    While the origins of gelato are somewhat debated, most believe the frozen treat was first introduced to the world by Bernardo Buontelenti, when he served gelato to the royal Medici court in 1559.

    Of course, the flavors and varieties of gelato have changed throughout the centuries. But what hasn’t changed is that gelato remains an integral part of Italian culture and cuisine. Wander the streets of any Italian town and you’ll find most gelaterias are open past midnight. And during la passeggiata, the Italian word for a traditional evening stroll, you’re bound to see families and friends walking with a cone in hand.

    Gelato In Italy

    Florence might boast some of the best gelaterias in the world, but it also has many gelato shops that cater strictly to tourists. We’re talking about those gelato shops around popular attractions—the ones where the gelato is brightly colored and towering high. If the gelato is three feet tall, know that it has been pumped with air and likely packed with artificial flavors and sweeteners. While it might look beautiful, the gelato won’t be of the highest quality. In contrast, the best gelato shops will use all-natural, high-quality ingredients, allowing the simplicity of the ingredients to shine.

    If you’re ready for the ultimate gelato taste-testing tour in Florence, then here are our top recommendations for gelaterias that’ll have you dreaming about Italy for years to come:


    La Carraia Getalo Italy

    Don’t be put off by the long line that always snakes out of Carraia’s doors. It goes quick, and the reward is well worth the effort. Not only does this shop have mouthwatering gelato, but it also boasts a fantastic location next to the Carraia Bridge, where you can enjoy the stunning views of Florence while eating your artisanal ice cream. A creamy scoop of gelato here is about €1.50—the least expensive gelato we had in all of Florence. Don’t miss the pear and ricotta, the dark chocolate and the pistachio.


    This small shop is located off-the-beaten-track on a quiet street and features creative recipes with fresh seasonal ingredients. While we were there, marsala wine and buffalo mozzarella were two of the most popular flavors. We opted for kiwi, which was bursting with flavor, as though the kiwi had just been picked straight off the tree.


    Gelato In Florence Italy

    Vivoli isn’t necessarily a hidden secret (it’s conveniently located just a block from the Duomo), but thankfully, its famed reputation hasn’t taken away from its creamy and flavourful gelato on offer. Since 1929, Vivoli has served sinfully delicious gelato; today, classic flavors like Stracciatella, chocolate and a large variety of fruit varieties remain consistent crowd pleasers. All that said, don’t go here for the staff. They typically aren’t the friendliest.

    Gelateria Dondoli

    Gelateria Dondoli Italy

    While not in Florence, no mention of gelato is complete without noting nearby Gelateria Dondoli. This teeny-tiny gelato shop is located in the central Piazza della Cisterna of San Gimignano. Sergio, the master gelato chef, proudly claims to have the best gelato in the world. Not only do his awards back up his statements, but this was also our absolute favorite gelateria in Tuscany. We tried the Santa Fina, cream with saffron and pine nuts, and if it hadn’t been for the long line, we would have circled back through for more.

    Do you have any favorite gelaterias or gelato flavors? Share them in the comments below

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A Cruising Couple A Cruising Couple's Column

A Cruising Couple Dan and Casey are the two lovebirds, world travelers and adventurers extraordinaire behind the popular travel blog A Cruising Couple - adventure travel with a dash of class. Their stories and photographs feature that special place where experiential and stylish travel meet. Find out how you can spend less money, live more adventurously and travel more luxuriously on their blog,
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