Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance, is popular for its rich history as much as for its delicious gelato. While Bernardo Buontalenti is the legendary figure credited with creating this much-loved frozen dessert, his legacy survives in the many gelaterie dotting the city’s piazzas and streets. Here are the spots that serve the best ice cream in Florence (or the best gelato).
Best Ice Cream Spots in Florence, Italy
Italy is all about its gelato, in my humble opinion! I’ve created this list so that there’s no need to be overwhelmed by the sheer number of places you may come across!
Located in the historic center of Florence, a few steps away from Basilica of Santa Croce (unmissable!) , is the oldest gelato shop in the city. No tour of Florence’s gelato places is complete without a visit to Vivoli.
Serving Florentines since 1929, their neon sign and old-school interiors continue to be mainstays. Don’t bother asking for a cone here; they say it detracts from the gelato flavor, so they only have cups. They use only natural ingredients to produce the ice cream daily in the laboratory adjacent to their business and with carefully selected products.
Vivoli continues to serve good old-fashioned, classic, and creamy gelato that made them popular decades ago. Look out for flavors like Saffron, Lime and Mint, Amarena, and the Florentine-y Zabaione (similar to eggnog). Plus Meringue – which is my fav here!
Other items they offer include cookies, rice puddings, tarts, and traditional Florentine frozen desserts like Marengo (puff pastry, house-made meringues, and sponge cake).
- Vivoli, Via Isolla delle Stinche, 7r, 50122
Gelateria La Carraia
Rightly earning its place in the best gelato places, this gelateria is named in honor of Ponte alla Carraia, the city’s second-oldest bridge that it’s located next to.
One among the many flavors that’ll blow your mind here is Delizia Carraia (with white chocolate pieces and pistachio sauce dribble). There’s also Biscottini, Salted Peanuts, Cantuccino (cream with Tuscan Biscotti), and Marmo di Carraia.
Grab your gelato cones and wander onto the bridge to view the Arno River while relishing your frozen treat; it’s a sight to behold.
They also have a second location on Via dei Benci close to Piazza Santa Croce but with a limited selection.
- Gelateria La Carraia, Piazza Nazario Sauro, 25/r, 50124
A small shop that sells artisan ice cream, Perchè No is a family-run gelateria located smack dab in the center of Florence, making it perfect for grabbing some great gelato, especially during the summer months. Expect a long line, though.
They’re known for the truly special flavors they’ve been whipping since 1939. Some popular seasonal flavors include Pomegranate, Persimmon, Lavender, and Rose. Then, there’s my all-time personal favorite – their After Eight. Other fruit flavors made at this small gelateria using only seasonal fruit include Mango and Lemon.
They also have a daily special taste of the day. On Mondays, there’s Rose, Pine Nuts, and English Trifle; on other days of the week, there’s Matcha Green Tea, Apple Pie, Cheesecake, and Ginger.
If you find yourself walking around the city center between Piazza della Repubblica and Piazza Signoria and wondering whether you should indulge in gelato, “Perchè No?” (translates to Why Not?).
- Perche No?, Via dei Tavolini, 19r, 50122
Cantina del Gelato
Enjoy the views of the Uffizi Gallery, the Ponte Vecchio, and the Vasari Corridor while enjoying natural, artisan-made ice cream at Cantina del Gelato (the cellar of gelato).
The traditional flavors include Tahiti Vanilla, Coffee, Bronte Pistachio, and Dark Chocolate. As for the delicious fruit flavors, ask for Turmeric with Fig or Acai Berry; you can also blend these into smoothies.
Other sumptuous flavors include Peanut Butter, Whiskey and Cinnamon, Mascarpone and Nutella, and Gorgonzola and Walnuts.
The star flavor is the Taste of the Cellar (hazelnut base with Nutella and caramelized almonds).
Their second location is on Borgo La Croce near Piazza Beccaria.
- Cantina del Gelato, Via de’ Bardi, 31, 50125
Organic ice cream with a view of the Duomo is what you’ll be treated with at this gelato spot.
Not only do they use natural, fresh ingredients, but they’re also certified Biologico (organic), which is a big deal here in Italy. They offer organic and vegan flavors and ice creams for celiacs.
Stop by this tiny gelateria after climbing the Duomo’s dome. You’ll be wowed with their different flavors that are interesting and quirky.
Their sorbets are made with fresh, seasonal fruit; surprisingly, even the fruit’s peel is included in the ice cream-making process, which lends an excellent flavor and fiber.
Some must-try flavors include Zabaione di Nonna Antonietta (with fresh eggs, sugar, milk, and Passito white wine) and Gianduja Secondo Edoardo (with hazelnuts and incredibly creamy chocolate).
- Gelateria Edoardo, Piazza del Duomo, 45/R, 50122
Other Best Places With Delicious Ice Cream in Florence, Italy
There’s an almost endless list of places that serve extraordinary Italian gelato in Florence. Here are a few more:
- Gelateria Santa Trinita, Piazza de’ Frescobaldi, 11/red
- Gelateria dei Neri, Via del Neri, 9/11R
- Il Procopio, Via Pietrapiana, 60R
- Gelateria della Passera, Via Toscanella, 15/red
- Gelateria Badiani, Viale dei Mille, 20/r
- Grom, Via del Campanile, 2
- Gelateria de Medicci, Via dello Statuto, 3/5r & Piazza Cesare Beccaria, 7R
- Gelateria La Sorbettiera, Piazza Torquato Tasso, 11r
- La Strega Nocciola, Via Ricasoli, 16R & Via de’ Bardi, 51/r
The cherry on top!
The fact that Florence is the birthplace of gelato is a sufficiently good reason to go gelato hopping here. Good gelato is always a stone’s throw away in Florence. And if you’re a gelato lover, you’ll be bowled over by the city’s unique flavors. Once you’re done with this list, you’ll be leaving with not one but many favorite gelato shops.