Italy’s love story with ice cream began long ago. The story goes, ice cream was first made in Sicily and ancient Rome using snow mixed with fruit syrups. Perfected by generations of ice cream makers, today it rivals pizza and pasta as Italy’s top cultural exports.

So, walk up to the cashier and ask for a cono (cone) or coppa (cup). They come in piccolo (small), medio (medium), and grande (large).  

And here we go, it’s time to choose your flavors:


Though it has fruit in it, it’s a cream base, – it’s basically fior di latte (Perhaps the base flavor for all cream (and even chocolate) flavors, this is literally “flower of milk” and it’s a wonderfully subtle sweet cream flavor) with a sauce of sour cherries mixed in. The Amarena cherry is a small bitter dark coloured Italian cherry grown in Bologna and Modena, two cities of northern Italy. They are usually bottled in syrup and used as a decoration in ice cream or on rich chocolate desserts.


Zuppa = Soup. Inglese = English. Put them together and you get English Soup. Said to be inspired by the English trifle back in the 16th century, Zuppa Inglese has a rich, custard flavoured base with bits of sponge cake or biscuit, topped off with a sweet, scarlet liqueur called Alchermes.


Another gelato inspired by other desserts, Zabaione may also be known as zabaglione. The gelato takes its name from the dessert it drew inspiration from. Like Zuppa Inglese, it also has an eggy and custardy flavor, since both flavors feature egg yolks in the list of ingredients. What sets Zabaione apart from its English counterpart is the type of alcohol used—Zabaione uses Marsala wine instead of Sherry or Alchermes.


In Italian, stracciatella literally means "torn apart." The eponymous gelato flavour is chocolate chip ice cream in its purest form: vanilla with fine irregular chocolate shavings. It’s a fior di latte base with chocolate bits in it. The chocolate has usually been drizzled over the top of the just-made gelato and then mixed in after it’s hardened, so rather than uniform chocolate bits you end up with pieces that look like needles. This is a very common flavor.


Order a small cone of plain, unadulterated nocciola and you'll found out instantly what you have been missing. The rich flavor of toasted nuts freshly churned with cold milk and cream is heaven. And if you want to show off your superior gelato knowledge, look out for the variety of hazelnut grown in Piedmont called the Tonda Gentile Trilobata, which is concentrated in the provinces of Cuneo, Asti and Alessandria. 


It is known that a good pistachio ice cream should not be bright green, a sign that chlorophyll was used for the coloring.

Look out for 'Pistacchio verde di Bronte' from Sicily which has a sweet, delicate aromatic, characterized by an intense green colour. It is a symbol of a land which withstands the volcano and takes advantage of its fertility. Unlike the products of American or Asian origin, which are mostly yellow-green, the Pistacchio di Bronte is characterized by an intense bright green colour, with very marked aroma and flavour


Just like a glass of lemonade, lemon gelato is super refreshing on those hot Italian summer days. It’s also light and the perfect amount of tartness; no sour facial expressions required. Look out for it made with lemons from Amalfi. This refined and exotic ice cream flavor will give you a taste of the south. With a high content of Vitamin C, grown on the sunny terraces of the Amalfi coast, these lemons are the queen of lemons.


Literally translated as “kiss”, this gelato flavor is named after the famous Perugian chocolate candies. It is a mix of chocolate and hazelnut. It’s basically Nutella flavoured, so if you’ve ever felt ashamed about wanting to eat Nutella with a spoon, Bacio’s your girl.


Basic chocolate, but the variations on this theme are nearly endless. It’s all the rage to pair chocolate with other complementary flavors, like hot pepper cioccolato con peperoncini or orange cioccolato all’arancia, and there are also different kinds of chocolate even when it’s all by itself. Dark chocolate lovers look for cioccolato fondente. And if you see cioccolato fondente extra noir, I think you’ll understand that we’re talking about the darkest of the dark chocolates here, look for cioccolato al latte or milk chocolate if you prefer something lighter.


In late spring and the beginning summer, Italian hills get covered in small fragrant strawberries of the wild variety. A seasonal, gourmet flavor, wild strawberry makes one of the most delicate ice creams you will come across. It’s nothing short of heaven in a cone.