Florence was unlike the other Italian cities I visited. Not because it was unique in its culture, architecture or food, but rather because it was my home, albeit only for a month. I lived in Florence while I was studying. So rather than write about Florence through the lens of a traveller going through each day I thought that it would be better to write a series of posts about Florence. Of course this will include visits to some tourist hot spots but I would also like to write about some other things than I enjoyed, such as the restaurants, shops or walks that I went on.
The obvious place to start is my so called area of expertise: gelato. When I was in Italy I ate almost one gelato a day. It’s definitely not an exaggeration to say that there is a gelato shop every couple of metres in Florence.
Here’s my personal favourites in Florence:
Gelateria Edoardo. This is located conveniently near the Duomo. This is a perennial favourite amongst the young student population of Florence. You’ll be able to smell the freshly made waffle cones from Edoardo before you even enter. I highly recommend getting your gelato in these cones. They are soft and intensely flavoured, offering something a little bit different to the usual cone. The chianti wine and fresh egg white with wine are my favourites. As an added bonus, the also offer vegan flavours!
I can’t help but have a soft spot for Il Procopio. This was the closest Gelato store to the apartment where I stayed and it was a real gem. The gelato cakes were lovely and the 2011 Gelato world festival winning flavour is still a winner in my books.
Gelateria La Carraia is one of the most popular gelato spots in Florence. It is located on the other side of the Arno river. The gelato is creamy and flavourful. Their display cabinet of flavours is so long that it’s impossible to see what you want from first glance.
Antica Gelateria Fiorentina located near the leather markets and san Lorenzo church is on this list because it offers some of the most interesting flavours I have come across! The orange, cinnamon and ricotta was an unexpected pleasure. They also offer a matcha flavour, which for Italy is almost unheard of!
Gelateria Santa Trinita. Last but certainly not least. This was actually my favourite gelateria in Florence. I found myself constantly returning to it and taking friends. This is another popular spot, where you need to be prepared to line for a little bit at popular gelato eating times. However, the line moves quick and the girls who work there are very efficient. They have a range of interesting and rotating flavours such as black sesame and cake or paradise. However, the classic America (cherry) and yoghurt is one of my top picks. The pink décor, fresh flowers and view of ponte vechio are an added aesthetic bonus.
The next list is a few other noteworthy options. These can be found in almost other part of Italy, so it’s not a Florentine must try. However, if you happen to be standing near one and have a few extra euro to spare (as they are a bit more expensive than your standard cup or cone of gelato) there’s definitely no harm in trying them.
Venchi is famous for chocolate but their gelato is also nothing to sneeze at. Whereas the cappuccino gelato was delicious the fruity mango flavour I tried from them didn’t entirely stack up. There’s one in Santa Maria Nouvella station and another near Piazza della Signora. Both stores can get rather busy and some flavours will be gone if you don’t get to them early enough in the day.
Grom is almost everywhere in Italy. This is located near the Duomo, down a side alley. They have a range of rotating flavours. Sadly it seems I don’t have a photo of their gelato to show you!
Don Nino has both sweet treats and gelato a plenty. Once again, they have a branch near the Duomo and another in the station, this time in the underground shopping mall. If you’re hankering or a gelato but someone else wants a cake or cannoli (which I also highly recommend), this is the place to be. The branch near the Duomo has plenty of seating and is open late into the night. They also offer whipped cream and chocolate on top of your gelato for no extra cost, or rather the cost is already factored into the admittedly expensive price. The maximum cone pictured here does cost extra though. The pistachio flavour is my favourite.
If you know what to avoid, almost all the gelato that you eat will be good. Some will be better or more unique than others but if you steer clear of overpriced tourist traps and artificial whipped gelato you’re almost guaranteed to have a good time for just a few euro.