Studying abroad is amazing for so many reasons, but one of the most unique has to be immersing yourself in a new culture. Growing up in an Italian family, the whole assimilation process here in Italy has been a bit too easy for me...except for the fact that I was so not prepared to eat so much gelato.

I'm studying in Florence, where there seems to be a gelateria on every corner. It may seem easy to just run out and grab some, but if you want some real deal, authentic Italian gelato, you're going to have to do some searching. It'll be worth it. I promise.

How do you know if you're getting good gelato? Most gelato shops let you sample their flavors before you order: try before you buy! But the tourist traps don't let you do this. If you ask to sample a flavor and the employee tells you no, then you know you're not at a real-deal shop. Also, good gelato won't be piled up and decorated like this:

goody, cake, sweet, dairy product, chocolate, cream
Alexandra Tringali

Real, good gelato will either be flat and not super showy, or it'll be covered by metal lids.

La Strega Nocciola

chocolate, ice cream, ice, cream
Alexandra Tringali

The first place I want to throw into the spotlight has a handful of locations around Italy, but I have visited the particular location in Florence, right near the Duomo, 8 times in two weeks. This spot is lesser known than others, but it deserves all of the attention. I've never had gelato or even ice cream that is as flavorful and creamy as La Strega Nocciola. Sometimes, options like white chocolate & cinnamon or mascarpone cream can just taste milky and sweet, with no real distinct flavors, but not here!  You can taste each flavor, from the light tangy-ness of the mascarpone to the sweet and spicy notes of the white chocolate & cinnamon.  These flavors above are a hazelnut & mascarpone combo, and a mascarpone, strawberry, and Nutella swirl combo.


sweet, milk, dairy product, ice, cream
Alexandra Tringali

Vivoli is the oldest gelato shop in Florence - they've been around since 1929!  They have a wide array of flavors, including your typical Hazelnut, as well as, Rum Crunch, Meringue, and Pear with Caramel. The gelato, while not as creamy as La Strega Nocciola, has so much flavor that it literally leaves you reeling - and licking the bottom of your cup afterwards!

Perche No!...

coffee, ice cream, sweet, milk, chocolate, ice, cream
Alexandra Tringali

Perchè No!... has been around since 1939 - just a short ten years after Vivoli. This shop has lines out the door from open until close. They also have a variety of flavors, from strawberry mousse gelato to gelato made with a traditional Sicilian cake with dried fruit. The retro shop is as tasty as it is aesthetically pleasing.


cream, ice cream, ice
Alexandra Tringali

Edoardo gelato is usually the first recommendation you will receive. They have unique flavors, (like white wine!) made with organic ingredients, and only serve homemade cones, which they are known for. Located right in front of the Duomo, they are hard to miss.

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Studying abroad also means getting the opportunity to travel on the weekends, whether that's to other countries (like France) or just to other cities. If you happen to find yourself in Milan, you need to eat this gelato.

Cioccolati Italiani

candy, cake, pastry, goody, waffle, sweet, cream, chocolate
Alexandra Tringali

A giant cone, with chocolate gelato on the bottom, vanilla on top, Nutella, a mini cone filled with chocolate sauce, and almond brittle. Is this one of the best things I've ever had in my life? Yes. Did I eat every last bite? Yes. The gelato itself was so silky and smooth, as well as the homemade chocolate in the mini cone. Honestly, I went to Milan just for this.

And if you're in Rome, you need to go here:


ice, caramel, cream, chocolate
Alexandra Tringali

These flavors made up the best cone of gelato I have ever had in my life, even if I'm not totally sure what they are. (The yellow one is literally called frigidarium.) The first was a creamy vanilla with lots of Nutella and the Frigidarium flavor tasted like cake batter with chocolate covered graham crackers. Oh yeah.

All in all, there is no shortage of good gelato in Italy.  Even the tourist traps with mounds on mounds of decorated gelato are going to be good! You really can't go wrong when eating in Florence (or throughout Italy for that matter!)