Best gelati in Italy

Making gelati is in the Italians’ DNA. It’s all good. So deciding who does ‘the best’ is a tall order. Leaving no cone unturned from Sicily to Veneto this summer, here’s my selection of the top five gelaterie, plus an old favourite.


1. Pozzallo, Sicily

Gelateria: Mattioli Cafe, Lungomare Pietre Nere 45

Perfect pairing: Cannella (cinnamon) and panna cotta (Italian ‘cooked cream’ dessert)

Tasting notes: This gelateria is the second reason to visit the port town of Pozzallo; the first is the ferry hop from Malta to Italy. As a cannella first-timer I’d go there again in a heartbeat. I think I’ve found my new BF (best flavour).


2. Agrigento, Sicily

Gelateria: Le Cuspidi, Piazza Cavour 19

Perfect pairing: Pistacchio and nocciola (hazelnut)

Tasting notes: Making gelati since 1960, this classy-looking gelateria does justice to the classics. The real treat, however, is watching the goings-on in the adjacent piazza – everything from local kids kicking around a soccer ball, to nonni line dancing to Italian-style salsa.


3. Spello, Umbria

Gelateria: Caffe Cavour, Via Cavour 61

Star flavour: Meringa alla lavanda (lavender)

Tasting notes: Spello is synonymous with flowers, particularly during the annual Infiorate festival when elaborate pictures are created with flower petals on the cobblestoned streets. It’s also a culinary hub. Combine these elements and you get lavender, orange blossom and rose petal gelati.


4. San Gimignano, Tuscany

Gelateria: Gelateria dell’ Olmo, Piazza Della Cisterna 34

Star flavour: Frutti di bosco (fruits of the forest)

Tasting notes: This mixed berry flavour is less adventurous than fragole e aceto balsamico (strawberry and balsamic vinegar) but delivers a rich, fruity fix. Join the queue in the main piazza of this hilltop town and people-watch while you wait and salivate.


5. Lucca, Tuscany

Gelateria: De’ Coltelli, Via San Paolino 10

Perfect pairing: Zenzero (ginger) and ananas (pineapple)

Tasting notes: Ooh la la – my tastebuds are still tingling! The perfect finale to walking the 4km-long Passeggiata Mura at the top of the city wall that encircles Lucca.


Long-time favourite: Venice, Veneto

Gelateria: Gelateria Ca’ d’Oro, Strada Nuova

Star flavours: Limone (lemon) and pistacchio

Tasting notes: A sentimental favourite of mine since 1998. Buying an ice-cream from this well-established gelateria is the Venetian equivalent of throwing three coins in the fountain: you’re guaranteed to return.


  1. WOW! My taste buds are tingling too. Now that you have got our attention, have you ever thought of organising a foodies tour of Italy? No worries about excess baggage – I only hope you two can fit into your seats on the plane home!

    • LOL! On the plane home we’ll be carrying a few extra kilos — around our waists! Not sure if the culprit is the gelato or the prosecco or the Campari spritz…

      • So…………..jealous yum!

  2. Hey Prosecco princess and queen, am sooooo jealous and have been wondering how you are going!! Have fun!.

    • We’re on the home stretch now. Hoping to bring some duty-free Canella Bellini home with us… xo

  3. Wally wants to know if you bring some home for him.

  4. Have you been to Gelato Messina Piano? Would love to know how Italian gelati compares to my all time favourite in Sydney.

    • Hi Sooz. I haven’t been to Gelato Messina in inner-city Sydney, but a quick look at the website,, tells me why it would be a favourite. I see they do gelato sandwiches, which is a variation on the Sicilian custom of serving gelato in a bun. (The Sicilians then eat the gelato with a spoon — go figure!) Can’t wait to try this gelateria. Grazie mille!


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