The Berger Bungalow: Battle of The Gelato Shops: Where to Get The Best Gelato in Rome, Florence, and Bologna

Battle of The Gelato Shops: Where to Get The Best Gelato in Rome, Florence, and Bologna
Posted on:10.17.2017

If I could sum myself up into one word based on the things I love to do, it would be the word 'foodie' hands down. I. love. food. On top of being a foodie, I would say that I am extremely skilled in organization and researching. Mix all of those together and you get a foodie that researches and tracks down THE best places to eat - especially when traveling because you only have a limited amount of time in that area, so you want to eat the best food you possibly can.

So, when we went to Italy, you can bet that I researched for months in order to find the best places to go (and let me tell you - my research did not fail me; we ate some great food). I researched places for coffee, places for lunch, places for dinner, and places for gelato.

Gelato is tricky because people that do not do research go over and think that they can find great gelato anywhere just because they are in Italy. Please do not be this person! Of course, you can stumble across amazing places without doing research (we found the best cappuccino when we did this) so research is not exactly necessary, but at least know a few facts about how to find the best gelato and what to avoid. If you read this, you will be able to tell if a gelato spot is good or bad through the window. Before, I tell you my secrets, let me tell you a story from our trip:

As I was researching food places, I did not think that researching 'how to tell if gelato is good' was necessary - I thought that all gelato would be great. But, somehow I came across an article and I was very glad that I read it before our trip. Once we met Ian's parents in Rome, we were just casually walking around one day and we all wanted gelato, so we stopped at the first place we saw. Since I knew all of the secrets, I knew that it wouldn't be good gelato. I let them know, but we tried it anyway and they thought it was good at first, but that quickly changed. Long story short, I stopped at another gelato place a few streets down and I let them compare my pistachio at the first place to my pistachio at the second place. That is when they learned the beauty of good gelato vs. bad and I spilled my secrets to them. After that day, they became gelato pros and searched for the best places and turned their noses up to the bad places and that is because when you try the good, you cannot go back to the bad. There really is a huge difference.

Anyway, save yourself from eating the 'bad' gelato and read this below.

HOW I FIND THE BEST GELATO

  • Judge the pistachio
Judge the pistachio, or really any of the colors. A general rule of thumb is to avoid gelato if it is extremely bright in color. Pistachio should NOT be bright green. Instead, look for the pistachio that is almost a brown(ish) color. Another example is banana - it should not be a bright yellow! My favorite flavors are pistachio and hazelnut, so of course, I always judge the pistachio color.
  • Look at the containers
Typically, 'real' gelato should be stored in silver containers that are covered. I don't know if I really believe this rule because I have found good gelato that were not in covered containers, but I will admit that I never had bad gelato that came out of a covered container. On top of looking at the containers, look at the gelato inside the containers (if they are open). If the gelato is sticking up and piled high, I would avoid it. It needs to be slightly melting (aka. not sticking up straight in the air). Typically, the whipped gelato that is sticking up does not have great flavor and could also have unhealthy chemicals or ingredients in them.
  • Consider the season
Go for the gelato that is in season. I don't think there needs to be a paragraph on this because it is pretty much common sense.
  • Recommendations
The easiest way to find good gelato places is by word of mouth and recommendation. Look online, read blogs, ask the locals.

BATTLE OF THE GELATO SHOPS

  • Rome
Favorite: Gelateria Come il Latte

This Come il Latte was the obvious winner in Rome, hands down. This is when we were all just starting to really figure out how to find the real places vs. fake places, so we had a few mixups along the way. 

Gelateria Come il Latte had amazing reviews online, so on our last night, we had to try it. Instead of being in a touristy section of Rome, it is back in a residential neighborhood, somewhat close to the train station. The line was well out the door when we arrived and each person that came out the door was raving about what they ordered, so our expectations were high. The gelato was amazing and high quality and there were extras you could add like chocolate, real cream, and cookies - so good. It was definitely a good way to end our time in Rome! 


  • Bologna
Favorite: Gelateria Marcella or Gelateria Primo Latte

This is such a hard choice because both are amazing places. Gelateria Marcella is well-known to locals, but not so much tourists (or at least that's what it seemed like to me). I loved that about it! It was small, clean, and the gelato was amazing. We were told to go here from one of the locals and I am forever thankful! Gelateria Primo Latte is right in the main square, which was so convenient to us because our apartment was there, as well. The flavors were amazing, but it is touristy. I think this place might be closed now, which is unfortunate.

  • Florence
Favorites: 

Alex - Can't decide between Vivoli, Dei Neri, or La Strega Nocciola 
Ginger - La Carraia (across the river)
Mike - Dei Neri

I think this is a harder choice because we tried so many places in Florence and they were all so good! 

Vivoli: My dad and sister raved about Vivoli to me, saying it is the best gelato they have ever had. The gelato was creamy, the colors and consistency were right, and it was just overall a really great place we tried. It is touristy. This place is on many travel shows and in travel books, so be prepared for a lot of people.

Dei Neri: This is in my top three and also Mike's favorite. We came here SO many times while staying in Florence. The gelato was fantastic, but my favorite thing about them was the lemon granita - wow, it was amazing. Ian always got lemon and strawberry granita mixed together.

La Carraia: We tried La Carraia the first night of staying in Florence and we immediately claimed it as the best gelato we had tried on the trip. Cross over the Ponte Carraia and you will find it right there, most likely with a line coming out of the door.

La Strega Nocciola: This was not on our initial list when coming to Florence, but we found this gem before climbing up to Piazzale Michelangelo, on the other side of the river. It. was. amazing. I was so excited when they had lavender and it did not let me down - so fresh!



  • Overall Verdict
The overall verdict is that no (real) gelato is bad and how can you narrow it down and find THE best place when it is all SO good and each place is so unique?! Follow my tips and you will find the perfect places for you! <3 Do you have a favorite gelato place? Let me know in the comments below.



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