A heat wave has officially hit Italy and feels like the apocalypse. It’s a billion and one degrees outside! We’re melting! We’re all dyyyyiiiing!
Not really. Let’s not exaggerate. But hey it IS really hot out there.
Bologna, being smack dab in the middle of Italy with not a single fresh breeze in the air, not even a damn river (okay so there is one river, the Reno River, but it’s more like a trickling creek…), is one of the worst places to be during a heatwave. If it were the weekend already I would pack up and head to the Adriatic Coast and dive right into the dirty water of Rimini, but it’s only Friday – not quite the weekend yet.
There’s only one way to stop this heatwave madness…
So yeah, maybe I’m blaming the heatwave for the fact that I’m on my fifth gelato this week (I’m a proud ‘Gelatoholic’ as Curious Appetite would say) but I just can’t resist, especially when there are SO many amazing gelaterias in Bologna. And yes, I know every Italian city claims to be the best at making gelato (like when a pizza shop in New York claims to have The World’s Best Pizza, which is totally lie because the world’s best pizza clearly comes from Naples), but really…Bologna has some pretty darn good gelato, and there’s even a Gelato University AND Museum to prove it, but more to come on that later.
It’s really hard to say if there is a #1 Best Gelato in Bologna because I think each gelateria has their own unique specialties and flavors. It kind of depends on what you’re in the mood for and how far you’re willing to walk. It also depends on. Still, the list can certainly be narrowed down. I’m not saying I’m a gelato expert or anything, but, uhm –ahem– I’m kind of a gelato expert in Bologna. I owe much of my expertise to my Italian students (some of them Bolognesi), who often given me advice on where to eat in Bologna. I teach them English, they tell me where to eat. It’s a great system. They pay me in dining advice ;)
So without further ado, here are my top 5 picks for the best gelato in Bologna (one for each work day of the week?).
Best Gelato in Bologna: My top 5 picks
1. Cremeria Funivia (Piazza Cavour)
This place is a legend, so much so that on any given sunny, hot summer day, there will be a super long line out the door. They also have another location outside the city and it is equally as busy (and delicious). Still it’s totally worth the wait and it gives you enough ttime to decide on your flavors, which is actually a life or death decision sometimes. A lot of their gelato flavors are named after places in Bologna which is a bit confusing (like why is ‘Cavour’ the lemon cream gelato?) but cute. Flavors I love: Torta Funivia (chocolate ice cream with pieces of chocolate cake), Cavour (Cream + lemon zest + shortbread crumbs), and Cocco (a coconut creamy dream!)
2. Cremeria Santo Stefano (Via Santo Stefano 70)
Walking into this gelateria is like taking a step back into time. It’s reminds me of a retro sweet shop from the 50’s with a smell of sugar that hits you right when you walk in the door. Their gelato flavors are really amazing. Things like Salted Pistahio and even cinnamon. They also make cutest chocolates and cakes. It’s a bit of a walk from the center of the city, but that just makes it all the more worth it. Flavors I love: Salted Pistachio, Crema di Limone (Lemon Custard), Chinotto Sorbet
3. Galliera 49 (Via Galliera 49/b)
Dangerously close to where I live and work, this gelateria is my go-to post work snack, especially on a boiling hot day. There are two things I love about this place: their refreshing flavors (things like mint chocolate ginger sorbet, and only serving raspberry when its in season) and their coffee granita with whipped cream. There are also two things I hate: their ‘small’ gelato is too small (a medium is worth the extra 50 cents) and their staff are sometimes a bit pushy, probably because there’s always a long line and they’re trying to keep it moving. Still I don’t even care if they are the rudest people in the world, as long as they keep giving me my coffee granita (wow – spoken like a true gelatoholic). Just be ready to order when you get to the front of the line or they might get angry. Flavors to try: Caramello Salato (salted caramel), Sorbetto di Cioccolato, Menta e Zenzero (Mint Chocolate Ginger Sorbet – not always available), and Granita (I’m partial to coffee with whippped cream but their other granita flavors are really good as well).
4. Sorbetteria Castiglione (Via Castiglione 44d/e)
This was one of the first gelaterias I tried in Bologna. I remember my first Itlaian roommate taking me here. We rode our bikes all the way across town uphill to get there, a sign right then and there of just how good this place was. Their gelato is more like ice cream for me. It’s super rich and creamy and soft and they add lots of interesting ingredients (like caramelized pine nuts!). Flavors to try: Cassata (ricotta ice cream, candied fruit and chocolate chips)
5. Gelatauro (Via San Vitale 98)
Gelatauro is my underdog gelateria. Not too many people know about it but the quality is excellent and the flavors incredibly unique. It reminds me of an old-fashioned American ice cream parlour, as it’s partially a bar too and you can sit inside instead of having to stand to eat your ice cream like at most other places. Their flavors are limited but so unique you won’t even notice. Flavors to try: Cioccolato all’arancia (Chocolate Orange), Latte Scottato (scalded milk with currant)