If you’re anything like me, you are going to try a lot of gelato during your time in Italy. I mean a lot. Or in my roommate’s case, sometimes even three times a day. With a different gelato shop on every corner, how could you not? It is simply too tempting to pull out a couple euros and buy a small snack-sized gelato for your walk home during the warmer days in Florence.
Since there are so many people that visit and vacation in Florence, there are many shops that are geared towards drawing in tourists with inauthentic gelato. It’s important to keep in mind that there are certainly many gelato shops that try to sell this inauthentic gelato to unsuspecting customers with fancy extravagant displays of gelato dressed up tall with fancy fruit and candy garnishes. When you are on the quest for a perfect cup or cone of gelato, remember to look for gelato displays that aren’t fluffed up super high with fancy toppings displayed on top. The genuine, high-quality gelato will speak for itself with a simple presentation.
As I’ve said, I am a big fan of gelato, which means I have tried many different flavors from many different shops during my time in Florence. For a long time I couldn’t settle on a favorite. There were just too many flavors that I enjoyed from too many different places. That all changed one day when two of my roommates came running into my apartment with empty cups and huge grins on their faces. “We did it. We finally found the perfect cup of gelato!” That night my other roommates and I grabbed our bags and followed them to see if it really was true, if they found the best place for a refreshing scoop.
We live close to the Duomo in Florence, and they happened upon this gelato while they were walking on the other side of the Arno river. So, we marched through the city and over the Ponte Vecchio, following their lead. It was soon after crossing the bridge that we reached our destination: Sbrino – Gelatificio Contadino. Their bright fancy sign catches your eye immediately. Between the bright urban display from the street and the rustic decor filling the inside, I was instantly surprised. None of the gelato shops I had been to so far had been anything like Sbrino. The touristy shops were flashy and the local shops were simple. Sbrino was the first modern-aesthetic looking shop I had seen in the city so far. The variety of gelato on display in the store looked simple yet delicious. Inside, plants hung the walls, smells filled the air, and the staff welcomed us with a friendly grin and a “Ciao!”
Per my roommates’ suggestion, I ordered the Speculoos, a caramelized cinnamon cookie flavor, also described as the “most delicious creation found on earth,” according to them, and they weren’t wrong. It was life changing. I wish I could put into words how amazing the flavor of this gelato was, but I couldn’t do it justice. All I can say is that I assure you that this experience is worth the visit, no matter how far you may have to walk across the city. So, if you ever find yourself on the quest for the perfect cup of gelato while spending time in Florence (which I hope you do) you definitely need to stop at Sbrino’s, say hello to the lovely staff there, and enjoy a cone of whatever flavor you fancy.
Julia is a fall 2019 Florence student from Appalachian State University.