While I haven’t been the most prolific blogger of late, I have been really looking forward to these next few weeks of posts. Why? Because they happen to involve my favorite place on earth: Italy!
For my post-bar exam trip, I decided to spend a month in Italy before rejoining the world of working adults. I had been to Italy several times before but couldn’t pass up the thought of returning to see my old favorites, to discover new ones, and to stroll among some of the world’s greatest historical and artistic treasures. Oh, and to eat, and eat well. While much pizza and pasta and wine was consumed over my four weeks in Italy, the defining culinary experience of my trip was perhaps the simplest pleasure of all: gelato.
Knowing that I would, of course, be eating gelato on the regular (when in Italy…), I decided to make like any good millennial and document my quest via social media. Thus, #dailygelato was born. There were no rules, other than to try as many flavors as possible (instead of defaulting to my well-worn staples of coffee, caramel, and chocolate) and to eat it daily (duh). Here are the results.
Day 1: Strawberry & Hazelnut in Varenna
In Varenna, my go-to gelato spot was Gelateria Riva, which is perched right on the water. Eating your gelato while promenading along Lake Como? Kind of the best.
Day 2: Chocolate & Pistachio in Varenna
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it: though there were other gelato options in Varenna, I adored Gelateria Riva so much that I returned on day two. I’m not sure what’s more beautiful here: the gelato or the lake.
Day 3: Stracciatella & Mint in Verona
On my first day in Verona, I headed to Gelateria Savoia, just off Piazza Brà, one of the town’s most charming squares. While I adored Verona, I have to admit that this was one of my more forgettable gelatos; it wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t as amazing as some of the others I tried in Italy.
Day 4: Lemon with Licorice, Vanilla, and Hazelnut & Caramel with Saffron in Verona
My second Verona gelato outing was much more successful: I headed to Pretto, a high-end Italian gelato chain with a penchant for concocting some very creative flavors. Though I’m not a licorice fan, I couldn’t resist trying such a unique flavor (verdict: good, but not something I would re-order).
Day 5: Caramel & Tiramisu in Venice
On my first evening in Venice, I headed to Gelateria Al Todaro, located just off busy St. Mark’s Square. While its location is super touristy – making it the sort of gelateria I usually try to avoid – I could not pass up the chance to grab gelato with such a stunning backdrop. Plus, it actually turned out to be pretty tasty.
Day 6: Fig & Dark Chocolate with Walnut in Venice
Gelatoteca SuSo, tucked in an alleyway somewhat near-ish to the Rialto Bridge (it’s hard to tell exactly in the maze that is Venice), served some of my favorite gelato. There were so many appealing flavors that I found it difficult to choose, but I was super satisfied with my rich, yummy fig and dark chocolate combination. Even more perfect? As I was strolling along, eating my gelato, I stumbled upon a restaurant sing-a-long of Que Sera Sera. Life cannot get any more OMG-I’m-in-Italy-and-it’s-magical than that.
Day 7: Fruits of the Forest & Peach in Burano
When in crazy colorful Burano – seriously, colorful is an understatement on this island – I knew I wanted an equally vibrant gelato. I found it at Su e Zo. It wasn’t my favorite gelato, but it damn well might have been the most colorful.
Day 8: Pistachio & “Samurai” in Bologna
Bologna is known as a foodie’s paradise, so it only makes sense that its gelato would be top-notch as well. Gelateria Gianni would go down as one of my very favorites in Italy, and with good reason – its gelato is unbelievably creamy. On my first visit there, I tried pistachio and “Samurai,” which was made with ricotta and mascarpone. I promptly died and went to foodie heaven.
Day 9: Il Sole & Neve di Primavera in Bologna
Gelateria Gianni was so perfect that I had to return – but to mix things up, I went to a different branch (there are three in Bologna). I tried “Il Sole,” made with vanilla, orange, chocolate, and pralines, and “Neve di Primavera,” made with milk and cream, and ate my cone in the shadow of Bologna’s magnificent Due Torri (Two Towers). Pretty awesome.
Day 10: Cinnamon & Coffee in Vernazza
I wouldn’t have expected this in Vernazza, the gorgeous Cinque Terre town that also happens to be teeming with tourists, but I found my absolute favorite flavor of gelato there: the cinnamon at Gelateria Il Porticciolo. It was indescribably delicious. Seriously, I cannot stress this enough: Go there. Eat the cinnamon gelato. You will not regret it.
Day 11: Coconut & Prickly Pear in Vernazza
I stopped by Il Porticciolo for a second time, this time sampling the coconut and the prickly pear, the latter of which was wonderfully unique. These flavors were good, but nothing can beat their cinnamon.
Day 12: Peanut Butter & Tiramisu in Florence
The gelato at Carrozze in Florence was good but nothing special. The views from Carrozze, which is right alongside the Arno River? Well, those are pretty on point.
Day 13: Lemon & Raspberry in Florence
One thing I love about Grom – a chain that you can find all across Italy (like in Milan) and in New York – is its reliability. It’s not the best gelato I’ve ever had, but it’s always tasty, and they always serve up seasonal flavors, which I appreciate. This lemon and raspberry combo was perfectly refreshing on a warm Florentine day.
Day 14: Cinnamon & Coffee Crunch in Florence
I loved the gelato at Gelateria Perché No, but what I loved even more was the sentiment: perché no means “why not?” in Italian. And really, is there any better motto for eating gelato in Italy than “why not?”
Day 15: Fresco Carapina & I Grandi Formaggi in Florence
Carapina was one of my favorite gelato experiences in Italy: every flavor was incredibly unique and made with fresh, local ingredients. I tried the “Fresco Carapina,” made with mint and milk (and it was incredibly refreshing), and the “I Grandi Formaggi,” made with pecorino cheese. Like, there were legit chunks of cheese in my gelato. It was glorious.
Day 16: Salted Caramel in Florence
Sometimes you just need to go with a classic: on my final day in Florence, I headed back to Grom and tried one of my favorite food flavors, gelato or otherwise, salted caramel. It was the only day I didn’t mix flavors, and it was well worth it.
Day 17: Lemon & Vanilla in Sorrento
Sorrento, and the Amalfi Coast at large, is a bit lemon-obsessed. One walk down Sorrento’s main drag, packed with shops selling every conceivable lemon product, was enough to convince me of this. Naturally, then, I decided that lemon had to be my first gelato selection in Sorrento, and Raki served up a delicious – and very, very lemony – version.
Day 18: Lemon & Cotton Candy in Positano
I guess I was feeling whimsical in Positano, because when I saw that Collina served zucchero filato (cotton candy) gelato, I knew I had to try it. It was almost sickly sweet, but it was sort of a fun flavor to experiment with.
Day 19: Profumi di Sorrento & Coconut in Sorrento
In his guidebook, Rick Steves dubs Gelateria David’s Profumi di Sorrento “an explosive sorbet of mixed fruits.” Of course, this meant that I had to try it – and while I don’t know that I would have labeled it “explosive,” it was damn good.
Day 20: Apple Cinnamon & Cannoli in Sorrento
Sorrento’s Gelateria Primavera was one of the craziest gelato experiences I’ve had: terribly crowded with customers, and featuring an insane selection of flavors (my estimate would be around a hundred). It was overwhelming and almost impossible to choose two fllavors. Due to some rusty Italian skills on my part, I thought I was just ordering cinnamon, but it turned out to be apple cinnamon. Not my favorite flavor ever, but decent enough – and the accompanying cannoli flavor more than made up for it.
Day 21: Nutella & Biscotti in Sorrento
If you like Nutella, you must visit Momi: its Nutella-flavored gelato felt less like gelato and more like straight-up Nutella, scooped directly from the jar and onto my cone. It was incredibly thick and rich – so much so that I couldn’t finish my cone, something that I would not have thought possible.
Day 22: Madagascar Vanilla & Pistachio in Rome
One thing I loved about Gelateria Vice was how natural and pure the flavors were; nothing tasted overly sweet. When it comes to gelato, simple and delicious is the way to go.
Day 23: Coconut Cream & Chocolate with Oranges in Rome
After a delicious lunch in Rome’s Trastevere neighborhood, I headed to Fatamorgana for a sweet finish. This gelato was good, but short-lived: it collapsed onto the pavement shortly after I purchased it. What a tragic loss.
Day 24: Coconut & Peach in Rome
I got sick on my last few days in Rome, with my primary ailment being a sore throat – as though I needed any additional justification for buying gelato! Coconut and peach gelato from Gelateria Vice was just the refreshing treat my sore throat needed, as it turned out.
Day 25: Grand Marnier & Coffee in Rome
On my last day in Italy (insert sad face here), I headed to Carapina for my final cone: Grand Marnier and coffee. It was a fittingly sweet – and also, bittersweet – send off from bella Italia. And believe it or not, after 25 days of gelato, I still wasn’t sick of the stuff; #dailygelato is an experiment I would gladly repeat again, and hopefully soon.