A gelateria with some serious history in Florence
Via dei Tavolini 19r, off Via de' Calzaiuoli
*** Piazza della Signoria [square]
** Palazzo Vecchio [palace/museum]
*** Uffizi [museum]
Casa di Dante [museum]
Santa Margherita de' Cerchi [church]
*** Duomo group [church & museum]
** Bargello [museum]
Other places to eat nearby
*** I Fratellini [snack]
Il Trippaio [snack]
Festival del Gelato [gelato]
Casa di Dante/Il Pennello [meal]
* Alle Murate [meal]
** Le Mossacce [meal]
Signoria Apartments [moderate-premier]
B&B La Signoria di Firenze [cheap]
Hotel Brunelleschi [splurge]
La Casa del Garbo Hotel [moderate]
Relais Piazza Signoria [cheap-moderate]
Pensione Maria Luisa de' Medici [cheap]
Grand Hotel Cavour [premier]
Hotel Savoy [splurge]
» More hotels nearby
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The best argument ever made for the consumption of gelato is the name of this excellent gelateria: Perché no? ("Why Not?").
It's not just that they make excellent gelato—which they do, concoctions that are bit lighter and airier than the dense stuff served at, say, Vivoli—or that they have a primo location, just north of Piazza della Signoria and the Uffizi. Perché No? also deserves singling out for its momentous role in the world history of ice cream.
The gelateria was founded in 1939, but it was World War II that made it famous. Frequent lack of ingredients—and of electricity to run the coolers—led Perché No? to experiment with egg-white spumoni and other cool-but-not-cold whipped sweet treats, which they eventually developed into their patented semifreddi (mousse-like concoctions now widely copied).
When the Allies drove the Nazi occupiers from Florence, among their first orders of business was to reconnect the power grid to these streets so that Perché No? could once again ramp up ice cream production for the G.I.s.
That story might be apocryphal—as may be the legend that, in 1946, Perché No? became the first ice cream parlor to install a glass display case to show off their tubs of flavors.
However, they are known for being among the first gelaterie to begin pioneering original flavors and taste combinations—though now everybody does it. I'm partial to their cioccolato bianco (white chocolate), though the miele e sesamo (honey and sesame) and crema cotta (cooked cream topped with lemon zest) are also good.
Perché No? is open daily until 11:30 (midnight on Saturdays; 8pm on Mondays).
- Gelateria etiquette: At Florentine gelaterie, just like at bars and cafes, don't just saunter up to the bar and order two scoops of cioccolato. Go first to the cashier, order what you want, pay for it, and take the receipt to the counter where you can order your coppa (cup) or cono (cone) of gelato, putting the receipt down with a small coin as a tip.
- Prices are pretty standardized: You pay by the size of the coppa (cup) or cono (cone), not by the scoop. That means you can—indeed, are encouraged to—squeeze two or even three flavors into even the smallest cup. Italians taught me that even unusual pairs go great together; a personal favorite: cioccolato e limone (chocolate gelato and lemon sorbetto). No, really; try it. Also most Italians order by the cup; the cone is a fun—if messy—American addition to the options, but not too popular.
- More gelaterie in Florence
- Snacking in Florence
- Picnic supplies in Florence
- Dining homepage
- Useful dining phrases in Italian
This material was last updated January 2009. All information was accurate at the time.
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