Best ice cream
We asked you, “Where have you had the best ice cream outside of the United States?” We requested that you name the particular shop (and include its address or approximate location) and include when you were there and the approximate price of a treat.
For best ice cream establishments, Italy was the country most often mentioned, and we present those responses this month. We’ll have more recommendations in coming issues. Have one to share? Write to Best Ice Cream, c/o ITN, 2116 28th St., Sacramento, CA 95818, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org (include the address at which you receive ITN).
I’ve traveled in 115 countries, and I have to say Italy has the tastiest, creamiest ice cream.
On my most recent trip, in June 2010, I was there with my grandchildren, Nycole and Anthony, and they had ice cream at least once a day — in Como, Milan, Verona, Florence, Venice, Amalfi and Rome.
The price was usually around $2 for two scoops.
Park Ridge, IL
I traveled in Verona and the lakes areas of northern Italy in May ’10 and have recent gelato news.
• In Verona, the best is served at Gelateria Ravelli (Via Mazzini 44), whose paper napkins read “Venchi cioccolato dal 1878” (“Venchi brand chocolate served since 1878”).
Their gelato, rich and creamy, served on a sugar cone, was the highest priced I encountered on my trip: €2.80 (near $3.65) for two scoops or €3.50 ($4.55) for three. The sizes of the scoops depended on which one of the fresh-faced young girls happened to be working that day.
Judging by the crowd waiting in line (men in business suits and mothers with children), the locals think it’s top of the line, too.
• Second-best in Verona is Gelateria Savoia (Via Roma 1/b; phone +39 045 800 22 11, www.gelateriasavoia.it), just off Piazza Bra and in business since 1939. Two scoops for €2 ($2.60).
• My third choice there is Gelateria Mazzini (Via Mazzini, 5; phone 045 590 161), which is closer to Piazza Erbe. Two scoops, €2.50.
• In Stresa look for l’Angolo del Gelato (Piazza Luigi Cadorna 38/38/A; phone 032332750), on the main square between Via Mazzini and Via Principe Tomaso. This shop had truly outstanding gelato, and it was one of the few places where our Italian guide bought a cone for herself. A bargain at two scoops for €2.
• In Como, Gelateria Lariana (Lungolario Trent 5; phone 031 266388), on the waterfront next to Ristorante Imbarcadero and around the corner from Hotel Metropole Suisse, had the best bargain of all at two scoops for €1.70. Sit on the steps or benches and people-watch. Our guide loved this one, too.
Each of these establishments offers a very dark chocolate flavor, which was my favorite, as well as tiramisù and coffee and, as lighter fare, frutti di bosco (mixed berries), pistachio and lemon. The fruit flavors on offer vary daily.
The late Herb Caen, columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, wrote that the best ice cream in Europe was at Vivoli (Via Isola delle Stinche 7r, Florence, Italy; phone 055 292334, www.vivoli.it), and you could find it by “following the trail of paper cups.” Sure enough, he was right. When we were there years ago, the ice cream was so rich, I couldn’t finish mine and gave it to my son. I bought a T-shirt there that I still have.
In 2009, when my daughter and her new husband honeymooned in Italy, I told her to find Vivoli and have some ice cream. She did and told me it is still “fantastico e delizioso”!
San Diego, CA
No doubt about it, the gelato at Vivoli in Florence is the best! It’s located one block northwest of Piazza Santa Croce.
My favorite flavor is dark chocolate with bitter orange. My wife, Linda, combines their yogurt with frutti di bosco (ex., mixed blueberries, blackberries and raspberries).
The last time we were there, in May ’08, two scoops cost €1.50.
Vivoli has a worldwide reputation, and they didn’t disappoint us.
Santa Barbara, CA
Best ice cream? Vivoli in Florence, for the flavor, the variety and the lack of dye. You can find it by following the litter of little spoons from anywhere to their door!
San Carlos, CA
One of the best gelato stores I have found is in San Gimignano, Italy. Gelateria di Piazza (Piazza della Cisterna, 4; phone 0577 942244, www.gelateriadipiazza.com) is due west of the well in the piazza. I go there every year at least once, as we stay in a villa just outside of town.
One scoop cost €1.25 when we were last there in 2009, but who gets one scoop?
Of course, the gelato at Vivoli in Florence is fantastic, too! We never miss that one, either.
Come to think of it, every Italian town has a good gelato store.
Between the wine and the gelato, I always have to walk the extra sightseeing mile. It’s really difficult, but someone has to do it.
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
We had our best ice cream in Perugia, Italy, when we visited in September ’06. It was at Gelateria Grom (Via Giuseppe Mazzini, 31; phone 075 5092191). Many flavors were available. We don’t remember the cost, but it wasn’t out of line.
Robert & Janice Gay
Vero Beach, FL
In Rome, Gelateria della Palma (Via della Maddalena, 19; phone 066 8806752) was serving about 90 different flavors, nine of them chocolate, when I was there in July ’07. We were taken there by our wonderful guide, Giulia Vitale (e-mail email@example.com), as part of a family tour of Rome.
• Around the corner, Giolitti (Via degli Uffici del Vicario, 40; phone 066 991243) was also good.
In general, Italy has the best ice cream in the world, and Rome takes first place in Italy. We’ve been traveling to Rome for 40 years, most recently in summer ’09, and the first place we go every time is Tre Scalini (phone 06 687 9148), located on the west side of Piazza Navona.
Dozens of flavors are listed on the wall above the counter — everything from vanilla raspberry swirl to mint, peanut butter and double chocolate double fudge. Our favorite of all time is pistachio.
The ice cream can be ordered in a cone or in a cup in as many scoops and flavors as you want. I don’t recall the price, but when eating ice cream this good, we are oblivious to price. We have never tasted a creamier textured, richer flavored ice cream in our lives.
I know there are many places and street corners to get ice cream all over Italy, but, for us, none compares to Tre Scalini (closed Wednesdays). We take it into the piazza, sit at one of the tables and immerse ourselves in the typical Rome pastime: people-watching.