On the train from Venice to Florence, I was doing a little background research about and discovered that Florence is the birthplace of probably one of the most important things to ever be born – possibly in the history of the world. Gelato.
I believe in levels of love. I love my family deeply. I love my friends. I love puppies and baby versions of large things with the fervor of a squealing teen girl wearing Uggs. There’s a whole different level of love reserved for my love of gelato. However, not all gelato is equal – the gelato in Italy is better than that of Barcelona, and each city in Italy has a slightly different ranking – I personally think the gelato in Rome tastes better than that of Venice, but Food doesn’t agree.
Anyhow, we decided to put this love to the test, and conquer some of the top rated and raved about gelaterias in Florence in a mere two days. Spoiler: love has its limits, and gelato and I might have broken up for the next few weeks.
The Rules: Neither Food nor I could pansy out, but Fiasco got one free pass. At least three different flavors had to be tried at each gelateria. For the sake of our waistlines and wallets, we had to get the small cup/cone with two flavors each and then, obviously, share – using spoons, not tongues. We’re not completely heathens.
La Carraia is a gelateria located at the end of Ponte La Carraia, but, due to popular demand, recently opened a second store right around the corner from the Basilica di Santa Croce. We visited the original on our first night after running through the pouring rain. We weren’t about to let a little water keep us from frozen delight. Food chose to go with my favorite mix – pistachio with dark chocolate – while I opted to try and replicate a Reese’s Cup (Feel free to send some of these my way. They don’t have them in Europe and I miss them terribly.) with salted peanut and dark chocolate. Fiasco, our younger sister, chose coffee and loved it. Food’s pistachio was the closest to heaven she’s ever been, in the words of the Goo Goo Dolls. Clearly this one was a winner. Rating: 🍦🍦🍦🍦🍦
Gelateria dei Neri is very close to La Carraia 2.0, and also down the road from one of the most rated restaurants I’ve ever seen, but we’ll cover that later in our Florence post. The guy behind the counter was cute and wore a hat that matched the teal cabinetry. The ice cream was also cute. Food went with raspberry and chocolate, Fiasco went with straight up chocolate, and I got pistachio and chocolate. Can you tell we’re a chocolate loving family? Rating: 🍦🍦🍦🍦
Perché no!, Italian for “Why not!” and also my life motto when it comes to all things chocolate, is a quaint little store between Piazza Signoria and Piazza della Repubblica. Food opted for sweet cream and dark chocolate, I got pistachio, and the little one went for strawberry. The pistachio wasn’t quite as nutty or flavorful as La Carraia’s, but the dark chocolate and sweet cream mixture was an ace. I like my ice cream to either be chocolate or have a balance of sweet and salty, so the strawberry was a bit much. A sugary assault on my taste buds. Rating:🍦🍦🍦
Cantina del Gelato does not serve Tex-Mex gelato, which I was slightly disappointed in. On second thought, maybe chicken fajita ice cream is a bad idea. Almost all of their gelatos were fruit-based, which was likely a good thing after all the chocolate we’d been having, and they also have açai smoothies – which Food persists in pronouncing “ak-i” despite my best efforts to teach her that it’s “ah-sigh-ee”. Food chose sweet cream and strawberries while I went with mango and passion fruit. I honestly have no idea what flavor Fiasco chose, probably because a mere thirty seconds after receiving it, she tripped over a stair and fell to the ground – ice cream and face first. It was tragic, but I let her go get more gelato, so all was well. Rating: 🍦🍦🍦
Vivoli was the first gelato store in all of Florence and has been in business for a good long while – begun in 1932 by three brothers, the business has remained in the family, with the grandkids of the original Vivolis now running the business. They recently opened a store in Downtown Disney in Orlando, Florida, but the original gelateria in Florence is somewhat famous, being mentioned in nearly every travel blog about Florence, so it was a must-see. At this point in our trip Fiasco told us she’d vomit if she had another gelato, so Food and I were flying solo. I picked up a rice pudding gelato while Food went with tried and true chocolate and vanilla. My gelato was stellar – the fact that there was no toilet paper in the bathrooms less so. Rating: 🍦🍦🍦🍦🍦
To see more of our adventures in Italy check out Rome Day 1 and Day 2, or find out about the pizza of my dreams in Cagliari. Fiasco will be back in our next blog, so get subscribed to see how we corrupted our baby sister. XoXx Fernweh & Food