On my recent three-day stay in Florence, I sampled a pair of artisinal gelaterie that I’ve been hearing about. Years ago when I lived in Florence in the Santa Croce quarter, there was only one choice. Vivoli was our spot—superb gelato five minutes away from our apartment. It remains a fine gelateria but these days the number of gelato shops in Florence is expanding faster than a kid’s wish list in December.
Il Re Gelato
Sicilian Toni Cafarelli is the gelato king as far as I’m concerned. He appears on Italian TV and gained major press for his olive oil gelato. The pistacchio and cioccolato fondente we sampled were intensely flavored and caressed our tongues. The fiordilatte (flower of the milk), flecked with candied orange peel, was like eating specks of sunshine.
Located on the busy ring road Viale Strozzi near the Fortezza da Basso and the train station, the shop was filled with locals. In fact, we were the only foreigners. A selection of Sicilian pastries is also on offer. You can try a freshly baked brioche stuffed with gelato in the southern style.
Viale Strozzi 8/r
Another ultra artisanal shop, Carapina breaks with the tradition of displaying mountains of gelato on trays set in glass cases (visual stimulation=increased sales). Instead, the gelato is kept in stainless steel tubs covered with stainless steel lids to keep out air and light, and thus maintain freshness.
The flavors we tried–cioccolato fondente, crema, and caffè–were all smooth and lovely. We visited the Via Lambertesca location tucked between Piazza della Signoria and the Arno River. The main shop is on Campo di Marte and there’s also a Rome location.
Via Lambertesca 18r
Campo di Marte, Piazza Guglielmo Oberan 2r
Camp de’ Fiori, Via de Chiavari 37/37a (Rome)
For more tempting gelato spots in Florence, check out Toni Lydecker’s article in the Tampa Bay Times and Elizabeth Minchilli’s blog post.