Why was I inspired to write an Italian gelato tour? Ice cream happens to be my favorite food group and that obviously includes gelato. An icy smooth spoonful can make a bad day turn brighter. According to the movies it can help you get over a breakup, we’ve seen it turns any screaming kid into a quiet angel, it’s rich flavor can enhance a girls night, and it can even cool off a 102 degree day. My Italian gelato tour needed to happen because who doesn’t love an excuse to eat a lot of gelato, for research of course.
So in honor of National Ice Cream month, I wanted to share one of my favorite ice cream experiences:
My Italian Gelato Tour!
After a three year self-induced search for the best gelato, I finally found my favorites, not surprisingly I suppose, to be in Italy. On a recent trip to Italy, I decided to search for the best gelato the country had to offer, while intermittently exploring the country’s iconic cities and sites along the way. My Italian gelato tour took me through Venice, Florence and Rome.
I started my Italy trip in Venice, the capital of Italy’s Vento region. Venice is built on more than 100 small islands in a lagoon located in the Adriatic Sea. No roads, just canals, and yes it do find yourself wondering if the city looks like it is drowning. But the city is romantic and you can practically feel the renaissance history oozing from it’s alleyways. And like gelato, it is a brightly colorful place with sprinkles of gorgeous palaces and cathedrals.
I started the day exploring the city from the water in a gondola, touristing 101. To bring the experiences romance to life, the gondola came complete with a musician playing some romantic Italian music. Touristy, I know but sometimes that’s exactly what you want and it definitely provided a nice alternative view of the ancient buildings.
While in Venice you have to check out the glass blowing. To skip it is like skipping gelato while in the world’s gelato capital, Italy. So, once on land, I made my way over to a glass blowing workshop. The class was spectacular to witness. How they are able to form beautiful pieces of art from scratch was like watching an Italian shoppe employee pile high, 3 scoops of gelato atop a waffle cone.
The Gelato: La Boutique del Gelato
Because every day of a tour through Italy should include a scoop of gelato, and knowing the best spots is why you’re reading this blog, here you go: La Boutique del Gelato! I found this this little gem during my Italian gelato tour by looking for the fruits on the sign (graphics help when you don’t read Italian). They make delicious home made gelato with a variety of incredible flavors. My personal favorite was the forest fruit. Refreshing and delicious it was the perfect way to cap off an incredible day in Venice.
Florence is the capital of Italy’s Tuscany region. It is home to masterpieces of renaissance art and architecture, including the likes of the Duomo and the David.
My day in Florence started in line to see the David, how could I resist? The David is a renaissance sculpture made of marble and created by Michelangelo in the 1500’s. The statue represents the Biblical hero David, and symbolizes defense of civil liberties in Florence. It was truly amazing to see this masterpiece up close and personal and to learn more about the history it represents. And my goodness it’s big.
After seeing the David, I wanted to check out some more of the beautiful art that makes Florence so famous. I made my way to the Uffizi, an absolutely treasure filled with beautiful pieces including one of Botticelli’s finest, “Birth of Venus”.
Once I had seen my share of stunning art sculptures and paintings, I wanted to see the other art that makes Florence so famous, the architecture. I went to tour the Duomo. The Cathedral of Saint Mary the Flower was the largest of its kind until 1881. The building itself is magnificent grey and deep green colors form the walls with a bronze roof that sparkles in the sun. On top of the Duomo marks the highest spot in the city, and incredible views. The best thing to go with a view is of course gelato so my Italian gelato tour leads me next to…
The gelato: Gelateria Perchè No
This is by far the best ice cream that I have ever had in my entire life. It was soft and refreshing and definitely hit the spot. The flavors were unlike any I’d seen and even the basics were mouthwateringly delicious. You’ll find yourself wanting to try them all. The restaurant creates a different menu with specials for each day of the week, so you can keep coming back to try more. I was there on a Friday and had the chance to taste their lavender ice cream. Like a true local, I enjoyed my milky, sweet treat while sitting on the steps of the Duomo, taking in the views of the city.
The third and final spot on my Italy adventure offered so much to see and do. Rome is Italy’s capital city. A combination of 3,000 years of art and history on display, intertwined with the cities modern cosmopolitan day-to-day.
I started the day in Rome at the Vatican. Home of the pope as well as iconic art and architecture. The Vatican Museums house ancient roman sculptures and paintings. It was amazing to take a walk back in history and see the likes of the Raphael Rooms and the Sistine Chapel. I was literally speechless while gazing at the famous Michelangelo’s ceiling.
The history lesson continued with a walk through the Colosseum, the largest amphitheatre every built. Back in 90 AD, the Colosseum would be the place of entertainment for tens of thousands of Romans. Now, it receives millions of tourists every year.
Just steps away from the Colosseum was our final stop of the trip, the Roman Forum. The Forum was once Rome’s centre showpiece, filled with people, vibrant temples, markets and basilicas that are still evident in the ruins that sprawl the grounds. The site, which was originally an Etruscan burial ground in the 7th century B.C. grew to become the place of social gatherings of the Roman Empire. Every step was a walk on top of thousands of years of history.
The Gelato: Gelateria Del Teatro
My Italian gelato tour was complete once I visit this spot. I love the story of this gelato shop. An Italian couple were searching the world for the best gelato, and it was during that time they decided to start up their own laboratory. Their goal was to create some of the best tasting gelato by combining seasonal fruit, chocolates, and nuts. They truly have created unique flavors that tickle the taste buds and even delight the sense with crunchy textures.
Italy was one of those truly magical places. The best combination of romance and history. A country filled with some of the world’s greatest masterpieces, and most delicious foods. So explore Italy yourself, just make sure you include an Italian gelato tour in there or you won’t get the full experience.