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Gelato in Rome, Florence & Venice?

  • j
  • JMJD Aug 15, 2010 07:24 PM

Planning a trip for early Sept and looking for spots to enjoy gelato in the places we are visiting. (Live in NY and have tried Grom but looking to go beyond that) Have searched the boards and seen a few places mentioned, but I don't think I've seen a recent gelato-specific post. Thanks in advance for your suggestions!

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  1. if you are driving from rome to florence (which jfood highly recommens) plan to stop here

    http://wordmunger.com/?p=780

    great town and the best gelato in the world

    2 Replies
    1. re: jfood

      I've never been to Grom but wholeheartedly agree with the Gelateria Neri they do a dark chocolate with chili (more mexican than Italian) but out of this world! I am also a great fan of Vivoli in Florence. In addition I have had some good ice cream at the gelateria which is closed to the Ponte Vecchio. In Rome I am going to suggest the San Crispino and Giolitti, with Giolitti a lot of the charm is in the pure sense of theatre - one sunday I saw 6 priests all with their hats on enjoy a gelati - pure theatre...and also the ice cream is good

      1. re: LotsC

        I second Del Neri. I had exaclt that (choclate pepperoncini with the crostiti fragola). Curiously, I was more or less dragged there by a tour guide who I started talking (debating gelato) to at Perche No? Side story: She said she would never take her groups there for worry of ruining it.

    2. In Florence (and Rome, I think) there's Grom, a cut above, as is Gelateria Neri on I Neri down the road next to the Piazza della Signoria. We were on the fence as to which was best.

      1. It would be worth your while to do a search for "gelato" on this board. (Look in the upper right hand corner of this page for the Search box.) I know there have been many prior discussion of gelato in Rome & Florence that you can access and review. There are likely some for gelato in Venice as well.

        1. Venice has many of gelaterias including a Grom. Though most are decent and many kiosks are supplied by chains such as Igloo, a few stand out and good for certain flavors. Fortunately, unlike the recent article in the NYTimes on how expensive a scoop of the "artisanal" stuff is in NYC, a big scoop is usually 1.2E; and don't expect any off the wall flavors.
          Gelateria Alaska for lighter style with intense flavor ; eclectic owner, unpredictable hours and a bit out of the way in Santa Croce. The rest are more of the traditional style: Doge has a signature flavor of Del Doge, a combination of vanilla and orange with bits of chocolate and candied fruits. Also very good are bittersweet chocolate, Baci and stracciatela. Nico has good fruit flavors, especially the peach and also rum raisin. Paolin has the best lemon. La Boutique del Gelato has good berry flavors, coffee and crema. Unlike Rome, where many places offer a big spoonful of whipped cream on top when asked, not in Venice.

          1 Reply
          1. re: PBSF

            Reality check: gelato in Venice is OK; but if you REALLY want to go Chowhound, when you take that side trip to Padua you HAVE to go to Da Bepi: http://www.gelateriadabepi.com/
            Don't just take MY word for it; Gambero Rosso lists it as one of the 10 best in Italy!

          2. Venice: If you like pistacchio gelato don't miss Gelateria Squero in Dorsoduro, near St. Trovaso. It is a small place, not touristic at all but has the most delicious pistacchio gelato I ever had made with pistacchios from Bronte, Sicily. I never tried any of the other flavors because the pistacchio is so amazing that I just kept ordering the same flavor during my stay.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Toot

              "Gelateria Squero"

              My fave for Venice.

              My fave gelaterria in Rome is del Teatro off via Coronari.

            2. My recommendation for Florence is Carabe' (to be pronounced with the accent on the E) on on Via Ricasoli. We had a fantastic gelato dish: almond gelato (which was loaded with bits of almonds) covered with a shot of espresso and topped with whipped cream. In Italian it is granite di mandorla con poca granite di caffe’ e panna montata. Just divine.

              1. In Rome you will be able to find several good ice cream places. San Crispino is very well know and considered one of the best, but Fata Morgana, Torcé and Il Gelato, Gelateria dei Gracchi are not any less (if not better!) You can google up the addresses. Hope this helps! Cristina

                9 Replies
                1. re: cristinab

                  When we werein Italy a few years ago, Florence was by far gelato paradise. There was a place called "world of gelato" or something similar that was excellent (they had 75 flavors I think). Walk around and ask for a single scoop ("una palina, *flavor choice*, due euro, il cono, por favore"= "1 scoop, for 2 euros, in a cone, please). The prices might have changed - some places had 1 euro scoops. Eat to your heart's content. There were a number of places around the main square, and not one of them was bad.

                  This strategy did not work so well in Rome aned Venice though. Some tourists we met got suckered into buying huge, multiple scoop, touristy creations that were 20-30 euros each!!

                  1. re: caliking

                    Venice has a reputation of fleecing the tourists but not when it comes to gelato. Just about all the places have a sign showing the prices for one , two or three scoops, usually 1.2E/2.1E/3.0E. Places around Piazza San Marco are usually a little bit more. If one actually sit down at places that have table service (Nico), all bets are off but there is always a menu showing the prices; a large concoction is around 7E. Then there are the 'famous' cafes, Florian, Quadri, etc. where one pays for the real estate.

                    1. re: caliking

                      20 - 30 euros for a gelato creation? Did someone seriously get suckered into this? I have heard a lot of things about tourists getting ripped off.. but never, ever have I heard of someone getting charged 30 euros for a gelato.

                      You never know though, I suppose.

                      1. re: Shannon

                        Maybe at Florian or Quadri where a "Coupe" might be around 15E and then add the music charge if one is sitting outside while the orchestra is playing. For 20 to 30 euros one ought to get served in a Buccelllati silver platter or a Venini glass bowl.

                        1. re: PBSF

                          Yeah, with gold flakes and don't forget the back massage by the waiter. Or even more.

                          1. re: Shannon

                            OK, I'm goin.

                        2. re: Shannon

                          I paid 30 euro for gelato once. It was for a kilo, however. Some friends had invited me to dinner and I went by my favorite place to get a nice vaschetta. The price was posted but not too clearly. It was still a rookie mistake on my part.

                          I haven't explored gelato in venice extensively but even though Gelato Squero is good as is Il Doge in Campo Santa Margherita, Grom is at least as good if not better than both those places.

                      2. re: cristinab

                        Gelateria dei Gracchi is indeed one of the best. I always used to like Fioco di Neve too--near the Pantheon, back by the Fiorucci store--small place, delish, lots of natural flavors.

                        1. re: treinberg

                          Today is my last day in Rome and the best I have had have been:
                          Gracchi - Everything was great
                          Giolitti - Champagne Sorbet
                          Gelateria Del Teatro - Pumpkin, Chocolate and Amaretti (thats one flavor) was amazing as was wine and chocolate

                          The best gelato of my italian trip was in Bologna @ Stefino's (Yucatan sorbet) followed closely by il Cremeria.

                      3. In Rome, I love Fatamorgana (Via Bettolo Prati is the most central of its 2 locations), Corona (Largo Arenula), Torce' (Viale Aventino is the most central of its 3 locations, Ciampini (Piazza S Lorenzo in Lucina), Fior di Luna (Via della Lungaretta), and Gelateria del Teatro (Via S Simone). You can find out more details here: http://tinyurl.com/26chhqa

                        1. oh yeah, and there is Carapina in Florence (http://gelateriacarapina.simplicissim...)

                          1. We always found great food in Venice by walking. We did not take the water taxi ... but rather walked across Venice with the locals. We had Gelato and much pastry in small places scattered throughout the city. We found that as we got closer to the square the prices went up and food quality went down.

                            1. Thanks everyone! I was looking for places that would be worth seeking out and I think you've given me a great start!

                              By the way -- curious about the mentions of Grom. Haven't loved it in NYC -- the texture seems off to me, as though it's served a bit too cold? And I am someone who rarely has quibbles with ice cream and/or gelato...

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: JMJD

                                I would be interested to know if you taste a difference between the NYC Grom and the Italian outlets. I thoroughly enjoyed Grom in Florence and Venice. The pistachio, baci and limone were all excellent.

                                If you give it a try let us know if the location makes a difference. I suspect the quality of ingredients will be different, and perhaps the skill applied to the process.

                                Also try this out of the way place in Florence: Gelateria de Medici, Via dello Statuto. I thought it was great. Our friends from Firenze declared their best gelateria to be Badiani but it was texturally problematic for me, and even further out of the way: Viale dei Mille, 20, east of Campo di Marte.

                                1. re: sinjawns

                                  In Rome, Cremeria Monteforte is where I had the most amazing gelato time after time.
                                  All of it was delicious. It is a small place that seems to be off many folk's radar screen. Take out only. Right across from the Pantheon. Hazelnut!

                                  1. re: sinjawns

                                    I read that the Grom in NYC brings over the raw materials (i.e., quality ingredients) from Italy so it should be the same. Which is why I think it might have been that it's too cold -- it just didn't have the right mouthfeel for me. But I don't know if there might be local milk or water involved that makes a difference.

                                    Will post back if I do a comparison. And thanks for tips on Florence!

                                    1. re: JMJD

                                      I'd be interested to know the difference between the Grom outlets. I really thought Grom was mediocre in Florence but loved it in Torino - of course those trips were a year apart so it is hard to make direct comparisons, especially since gelato should be consumed fresh. Still, Torino and Rome have been the two cities where I found great gelato just randomly.

                                      One of the most important gelato ingredients is of course the dairy and I doubt Grom is shipping that all over the world! In fact, Italian dairy does not have a great reputation and so, controversially, I will say that I would not be surprised if the best gelato is being made by an Italian ex-pat somewhere outside of Italy.

                                2. In Rome: Gelateria Del Teatro, East of Piazza Navona by 4 or 5 blocks, right off Via Dei Coronari (Via di San Simone 70). Flavors like White Chocolate and Basil, Peach and Lavender, Chocolate and Wine, and Pure Chocolate, just to name a few. By far the best I've had in three cities, though granted I just ate whatever I came across. This place is definitely worth finding if you are near there at all. The owner(?) was such a purist he wouldn't serve me two chocolates together in the same cup because the flavors are so subtle.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Mastrovenice

                                    I also recommended Del Teatro earlier in the thread. My friends and I did make a point of trying gelato from all over Rome and making A-B-C-D-E-… comparison.

                                  2. The Alaska in Venice is great and Carlo is an extremely nice man. In September I would watch out for his grape musto gelato, which was among the best I've eaten. (The grape on the other hand had seeds, which I don't mind in grapes but is hard to take in ice cream. (In the spring there is the artichoke.) Another good one that is less heralded than Nico, the Travaso, et al. is a little shop on Via Garibaldi. No idea of the name but it is on the right coming up from the Riva before you get to the gardens.

                                    1. In Rome, Giolitti for me, hands down.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: visciole

                                        Amen. Granted, gellato in Rome is a passionate topic for Chowhounders. There are many shrines for supernal gellato. For me, Giolitti is the Heavenly Jerusalem, the Mecca, the Holy Grail. The service might be wanting; you can't complain about the ice cream.

                                        1. re: Sid Cundiff

                                          Giolitti, agreed. Try the visciola (sour cherry) and riso (rice pudding) flavors. But choose your gusti wisely: on two separate occasions, I was told that my crazy combination was just not appropriate, that it would do horrible things to my stomach, and that I would have to choose a more reasonable grouping.