Gelato was invented in Florence, so there are 12 amazing gelaterias in the historic center, and other 20+ equally amazing gelaterias outside the old town. I’ve composed a map of the best gelaterias that you can download for free on your smartphone and see them all in your google maps to navigate around gelato places near you.

List of the Best Gelato in Florence in 2024

  1. Gelateria dei Neri
  2. Edoardo
  3. La Carraia 
  4. La Strega Nocciola
  5. Sbrino
  6. Vivoli
  7. Gelateria della Passera
  8. Perche no
  9. Vivoli
  10. Gelateria Santa Trinita
  11. Gelateria dei Medici
  12. Gelateria Carabe

The Best Gelateria in Florence

Edoardo’s gelato stands out as the town’s best, thanks to its unique selling points. It’s made from 100% organic and biologically sourced ingredients, completely free from additives. This makes it a top choice for vegans, offering 8 delicious flavors that are milk-free. Instead of milk, they use pure water to achieve the perfect texture and flavor.

Edoardo’s gelato is not only delicious but also safe for those with allergies. Their vegan dark chocolate ‘Domori’ is a superior quality treat,  and their vegan lemon is pure and refreshing. If you have gluten or peanut allergies, Edoardo’s is the only gelateria that can guarantee no contamination.

And, of course, their gelato made with milk is also exceptional. Edoardo’s offers rich hazelnut and gianduja flavors, with the hazelnut gelato packing a whopping 1800 calories per 100 grams. Gianduja is the Italian response to Nutella with 30% hazelnut. If you don’t want a calorie bomb, try refreshing and light lavender with honey or the cinnamon flavor, which is quite Christmasy. With such a different variety of pure gelato, Edoardo’s truly deserves its number 1 spot.

 

My Favorite Gelato in Florence

Personally, I like either a really rich ice cream or a combination of very sweet and tangy. My favorite gelato flavors aren’t the typical pistachio or chocolate that everyone seems to love. Instead, I prefer salty caramel, yogurt, hazelnut, and ricotta with figs. 

Nº1

Gelateria dei Neri takes the top spot for me, even though they use additives and they produce their ice cream industrially. They have both salty caramel gelato and a sweet, warm cream called Crema dei Neri that pairs perfectly with their yogurt gelato. Two scoops of this combo probably equals 600-800 calories, but it’s worth it.

Nº2

My second favorite is Edoardo’s for their incredibly rich hazelnut ice cream with eggs. It’s like eating pure, crushed hazelnuts – a real treat.

Nº3

Lastly, Gelateria La Carraia earns the bronze medal for its perfectly balanced ricotta and fig flavor. It’s just the right amount of sweet and cheesy. Plus, it’s a great spot to take photos next to the Carraia bridge along the river.

Other Popular Gelaterias

Vivoli is famous for “affogato” – hot coffee drowned in ice cream

Strega Nocciola is famous for pistachio and hazelnut. Pistachio is not very sweet, allowing the proper taste

La Carraia is famous for having a large variety of different flavors specific to them

Sbrino is famous for using high-quality products

Gelateria Carabe is famous for granitas – slush

Gelateria della Passera is an overall good gelato close to Ponte Vecchio

Perché no?  is an overall good gelato close to Signoria Square

Industrial gelato

It needs to be said that Italian industrially produced gelato is often tastier and a lot prettier than the real one, because they’ve perfected their recipes and made them exactly how people like them the most. 

Additives are meant to give gelato a more appealing color, preservatives make it melt slower, and conserve it so it doesn’t go bad at the end of the day. Additives and preservatives are usually also 100% natural, so there is no need to be scared of them. 

How to Choose a Real Gelato?

Colour

Authentic gelato is made with only 3 ingredients: milk, sugar, and the ingredient that gives the flavor.  

Real gelato doesn’t have colorants, conservants, or taste enhancers, and it doesn’t look as good as the industrial one. 

Real hazelnut, pistachio, peanuts, lavender, cinnamon, honey, and caramel gelato are all skin colors, just different shades. Pistachio is not green, lavender is not lilac, honey is not yellow, and cinnamon is not brown. The main ingredient is added to milk, which dilutes the color, and all gelato ends up being different shades of skin color. 

Green pistachio can only come out if it is milk-free or vegan, so it is made only with pure pistachio, sugar, and water – then it will be green, but not bright or electric green, brownish green. If it is milk gelato – it comes out as dark beige.

Opening hours

Opening hours tell you if gelato is freshly made every morning or industrially produced. If the gelateria makes ice cream fresh and pure every morning, they have to wake up, have breakfast, shower and get dressed, get to work, get fresh milk delivered, make their gelato, and only then open the shop. It cannot be physically done before 11:30. If they’re open from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., this ice cream is industrially produced. Don’t get me wrong, the production is usually their own, and they probably have it thanks to being incredibly popular in Florence and having long queues of tourists outside their shop every day. However, gelato is a lot more authentic when the production is one man only, and gelateria hasn’t adapted to the market requests.

Freezers

Pure, freshly-made gelato melts much faster and goes bad at the end of the day. So, real freshly made gelato not only looks less appealing but is rarely exhibited in open fridges as it melts. See the photo below of how the gelato is supposed to be stored in the shop.

Quantity

Too many different tastes always available is not a good sign. To keep that gelato available and never-ending, they have to produce it industrially in large quantities, and if it hasn’t been sold on that day, they have to sell it the next day. If the gelato can be stored for several days, it is made with powdered milk and uses preservatives to keep it fresh. 

 

The menu

It is industrially produced gelato if the menu changes twice a year or never. Gelaterias don’t have access to many products throughout the year, as they don’t grow and are unavailable fresh. So they have 3, maybe 4 flavors that are always available. The rest of the menu changes, if not every week, then every month. The best gelaterias change their menu slightly every day. That’s how you know they make it fresh every darn morning.

Certificates and allergy tables

The gelateria must guarantee no contamination for most flavors if you are allergic to gluten or peanuts. This can be easily found in a table format hanging on the wall. If you walk into a gelateria and ask if they have gelato for people with gluten allergies and they say, “It is all contaminated,” it is industrially produced and has different additives. 

 

Pro Advice

Don’t judge the place by its cover. If the gelato looks too good to be true, with its colorful layers and a seller who is overly friendly and talkative, giving the impression that they made the ice cream themselves, and the shop is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to midnight all year round, then it’s likely not authentic gelato but rather industrially produced ice cream. Even though it tastes amazing, it may not be the real deal.

 

About the Authentic Gelato

Gelato is not only about being made of fresh milk using natural ingredients but also about tasting completely different from flavor to flavor.

Understanding the taste of different flavors is vital to appreciating gelato. Flavors should taste very different. Some should be salty, others bitter, and many quite tart. 

  • Coffee flavor has to taste like real coffee and not like Starbucks frappuccino. 
  • Dark chocolate should be bitter, a taste that kids may not like, and it’s properly dark when made without milk, so the dark chocolate flavor should be vegan/milk-free. 
  • Lemon should be tangy like you just bit into a fresh lemon. 
  • Ricotta is cheese, let us not forget it, it’s not just random white gelato
  • Cinnamon should taste like cinnamon, not just smell like it. This is where you can challenge yourself – do you truly know how cinnamon tastes?

Test Your Taste Buds

Here’s a suggestion to test your taste buds! You can visit one of the gelaterias from the list and order three similar scoops – ricotta, yogurt, and fior di latte – all white, milk-based ice cream. Close your eyes, try each, and see if you can distinguish them. If you cannot distinguish them, your palate is not accustomed to authentic gelato, regardless of how tasty it feels.

The vast majority of people actually have a pretty primitive taste palette. They are used to industrial ice cream and write reviews on Tripadvisor with the usual “Best gelato in Florence” when they find an ice cream similar to what they are used to. Their liking is usually proportional to the amount of sugar used in the gelato. The more sugar, the better the reviews. 

So, while you’re looking for high-quality gelato in Florence, please recognize that your taste palette is likely not ready for it. 

Half of the flavors on the menu, if given without milk, cream, and sugar, make the ice cream you would not have liked. 

Don’t Rate the Gelato Store Based on One Try

Many times, the combinations you choose are also unsuitable for mixing. For example, strawberry and pistachio cannot marry, and mango and salty caramel are awful if mixed. 

So before judging an ice cream store as bad, ask yourself: 

  • Did I mix them right? 
  • Could I have picked the wrong flavor for my taste buds?
  • Would I eat lavender, cinnamon, and Vinsanto wine in a non-ice cream format?  
  • Do I know the taste, not the smell, the TASTE of these products?
  • Do I like the taste of these products if provided without milk and sugar?

 

Mass Tourism Changing the Authentic Florentine Gelato 

The next thing to ask yourself is how much sugar you need? 

Sugar and salt are food additives that enhance the taste, but when added in excessive amounts, they can overpower the main ingredient and ruin its flavor.

But mass tourism has shown that people will leave bad reviews if you don’t bang a Coca-Cola amount of sugar into the ice cream. They didn’t walk into the place for the authentic gelato or high-quality products used to make it; they walked in looking for cold milk and sugar mixed with something colorful. So before making any decisions regarding ratings, try rating your taste palette. 

Florence used to have many completely different gelaterias offering a variety of flavors that you could not find anywhere else in Italy, like the spicy red pepper flavor or the curious rucola flavor,  but because of the primitive taste palette of an average tourist, they closed down.