When you travel to Italy, one thing that you should do is experience Gelatos in Italy.
First, let’s identify the recommended location to purchase your gelato. You have the obvious, gelateria, the bar, the pasticceria and even the supermarket. The gelateria is the place to be, where they specialize in just gelato, where you will find the largest selection, the freshest flavors and the most qualified staff to scoop you the perfect gelato.
Up next is the bar. Keep in mind that the “bar” in Italy isn’t selling you beer and wine, but it’s essentially a cafe. Their specialty is espresso, cappuccino and morning pastry. They all frequently sell gelato, especially in the summer months. Next is the pasticcerie. They specialize in pastries, such as rum babas, spogliatelle, paragine and so much more.
They are delicious and glorious, but they do not specialize in gelato. Like bars, they might sell some gelato in the summer, but it’s not the first place to go if gelato is what you’re after. Next is the supermarket. Picking up some gelato at the supermarket while doing your weekly shopping is a great option. Even the mass produced, packaged gelato is of great quality and far superior and tastier than what we know as ice cream here in the U.S.
So, with all that in mind, I highly suggest going to a gelateria for your best gelato experience. Bars are a close second option, and I should emphasize that while their flavor selection is perhaps smaller, the quality is still great.
If you are used to earting your food first, then paying for it, you’re going to have to change that mentality for the gelateria. You actually pay first. For most shops, when you walk in, you will see a beautiful window displaying their goods. Tucked in some corner in the gelateria, or perhaps in full view, you will see a counter clerk sitting behind a cash register. (Yes, cashiers sit in Italy.) It is there that you go and pay for your treats. Tell him or her what you want and how many, pay accordingly and he/she will hand you a receipt. If you aren’t sure yet what you want, it’s perfectly acceptable to take a peek first, before making your way to pay. Next up, take that receipt to the clerk behind the counter to be served. Keep in mind, gelaterie in the summer get very crowded and Italians don’t like forming lines, for just about anything! Be respectable, but do let them know when you are next (if in fact, you are). Usually, waving your receipt to the clerk will get their attention.