I’ll start with a disclaimer: Bethany may or may not agree with my choices, but since she’s off in Cape Cod doing musicals all summer, I get to post MY choices. If she can find the time to blog (doubtful), she can contradict me.
After much thought, my Number One award goes to Il Grand Duca in Florence, on the via dei Calzaiuoli. (I saved a napkin with the address–good thing, since I couldn’t read my own writing for the street name!) The dark chocolate gelato here may be the best ice cream in the entire world. Seriously. It’s unbelievably rich and creamy. It paired excellently with the frutti di bosco (mixed berry), which was chock full of real fruit.
Now it gets much harder, since nearly every gelateria in Florence was amazing. But I think I have to go with Gelateria Carabe on Via Ricasoli (near the Academia) and Il Gelato Vivoli for #2 and #3, though I’d be hard pressed to choose which is which.
As you can see (and as I posted at the time), no place we visited can come close to Florence when it comes to gelato. It’s a true ice cream lover’s paradise. Honorable mentions there include Gelateria dei Neri (which may have been Bethany’s favorite) and Caffe Dell Carrozze, at the foot of the Ponte Vecchio bridge–the setting there only adds to the flavor.
This isn’t to say we didn’t find wonderful ice cream elsewhere, of course, but Florence is a standard of its own. If you love ice cream, you owe it to yourself to visit that lovely city–put it on your list of “Things to do before you die.” You won’t be sorry.