Florence’s first and most famous gelateria, and still one of the best. Opened in 1929 as a place to buy milk, or whipped cream on Sundays, in 1932 Vivoli started making ice cream. Yes it can be crowded with tourists, and yes the staff behind the counter can be surly and impatient with tourists who don’t know they have to pay for their gelato first, and then take the receipt to the counter. And yes, you pay more here than at some of the other gelaterias. For all these reasons, many Florentines have abandoned it, swearing Vivoli has lost their edge. In fact many Florentines refuse to go here.
But the chocolate semifreddo makes it all worth it. Nobody else has matched Vivoli’s standard; like a rich chocolate mousse it combines a light airy texture with a deep cocoa flavor. No place else can make a chocolate so light in texture and so rich in flavor. This is also a great place to try Riso, the ice cream equivalent of rice pudding, it offsets a sweet milky base with slightly chewy grains of vanilla infused rice.
Get It!: Mousse al Ciocolatto (Chocolate Mousse), Riso (Rice)
Signature Flavor: Riso (Rice)
Chocolate Cravings: Mousse al Ciocolato (Chocolate Mousse)
When in Season: Pera al Caramello (Pear with Caramel), Melone (Melon)
Not Recommended: Ciocolato Ricco (Rich Chocolate)
TIP: Pay for your gelato at the cashier first, then go up to the counter to get your ice cream.
Via dell’Isola delle Sinche, 7r, Firenze. www.vivoli.it; tel: 055 292334. Closed Mondays