Life is too short for bad gelato. Read on to see our picks for the best gelato in Bologna Italy plus a bonus pick in nearby Modena.
Eating gelato in Bologna is a stressful business. Firs, you have to decide on the size, either piccolo (small) or gigante (large). Then you must choose between a cono (cone) or coppetta (cup). And that’s before the daunting task of choosing among a dozen or so tempting flavors like pistachio, stracciatella and salted caramel. To make matters worse, the best Bologna gelaterias often have long lines of gelato lovers dealing with the same difficult decisions.
It’s a miracle we made it through over two weeks in Bologna in these conditions. As you can see from our photo, we weren’t happy at all.
Now that we have your sympathy, we can admit the truth. We love everything about eating gelato in Bologna. We love the difficult decisions, the long lines and even the occasional surly service. Most of all, we love the taste and texture of creamy, dreamy Bologna gelato. Though we’ve eaten great Italian gelato in cities all over Italy including Rome, Florence, Naples and Matera, we’ve never eaten better gelato than in Bologna. In fact, we rank eating gelato in Bologna as one of the top food experiences in Emilia Romagna. If you’re wondering what to do in Bologna – the answer is always to eat gelato. It’s truly one of best things to do in Bologna.
The Best Gelato in Bologna
Give us gelato or give us death!
Could we find the best gelatos in Bologna in just over two weeks during our recent visit? We answered this challenge with a rallying cry as we traversed the city and sampled top Bologna gelaterias before narrowing them down to a manageable list. Here are our favorite seven (rhymes with heaven) spots to eat gelato in Bologna plus a bonus gelateria in nearby Modena.
Cremeria Santo Stefano
A tiny jewel box of a gelateria, Cremeria Santo Stefano stands out among the best Bologna gelaterias for its knock-our-socks off flavor and stylish decor. We loved the intensity of gelato flavors like Budino di Provenza, Speculoos and Pistacchio Salato del Bosforo during our multiple visits to Cremeria Santo Stefano. We also loved the shop’s chic style with its displays of dried flowers and herbs adding colorful design elements to an old-fashioned, turn of the century storefront. The service can be brisk, even edging on surly, but sometimes servers have to be a little brusque when they’re efficiently dealing with a line that winds around the corner.
Cremeria Santo Stefano is located at Via Santo Stefano, 70, 40125 Bologna BO, Italy.
Plan to be patient since Galliera 49’s counter is always filled with customers clamoring for the edgy gelateria’s artisanal gelato made with fresh milk and fair trade cane sugar as well as granitas loaded with fresh fruit. (This patience will come in handy when the gelateria closes for the winter months.) Though several locals recommended Galliera 49 to us, we weren’t convinced of its excellence until our second visit when we tried the shops’s Cuba gelato made with dark chocolate and sour cherries. We became fans and repeat customers after one bite of the addictive concoction.
Galliera 49 is located at Via Galliera, 49/b, 40121 Bologna BO, Italy. Galliera 49 closes for the winter season – check their website for exact dates.
La Sorbetteria Castiglione
Our memory of eating gelato at La Sorbetteria Castiglione became legend in our minds. We ate there during our initial Bologna visit seven years ago and memories can be a tricky thing. We feared disappointment during our recent return visit to the stalwart Bologna gelateria, but we’re pleased to report that the gelato quality has not deteriorated over the years. Their best gelato flavors are as pure as we remembered, and the gelato is equally creamy. During our recent visit, we especially enjoyed the Sicilian Cassata gelato made with ricotta, candied fruit and chocolate chips. We also enjoyed eating our gelato under an ancient portico, as one does in Bologna.
La Sorbetteria Castiglione is located at Via Castiglione, 44 d/e, 40124 Bologna BO, Italy.
Stefino Gelato Biologico
Gluten free aren’t words that usually attract us to desserts, but we gave the gelato at Stefino Gelato Biologio a try during our pasta making class. We’re glad we did. Since the certified organic gelateria’s gelato is low in both sugar and fat, we later ate two scoops inside a house made brioche roll in a treat called brioche con gelato. We like to think the calories evened out, and we’re sticking to that story. Stefino also delivers fresh gelato to customers in 35 minutes or less for those who don’t want to wait in line.
Stefino Gelato Biologico is located at Via S. Vitale, 37, 40125 Bologna BO, Italy.
Named after a cable car station next to its original location, Cremeria Funivia puts the fun into gelato by adding chocolate sauce to the bottom of some of its cones. We loved their Alice cone with mascarpone gelato and melted dark chocolate. We also enjoyed sitting on a bench in Piazza Cavour while gobbling down our afternoon treats.
Cremeria Funivia is located at Piazza Camillo Benso Conte di Cavour, 1/d/e, 40124 Bologna BO, Italy.
Did we mention that we’re now trained gelato experts? Though that claim is a bit of a stretch, we are smarter about making gelato after taking a class at Carpigiani Gelato University just outside of Bologna. During the class, Maéva Noël informed us about the history of gelato through the centuries before teaching us how to make artisanal Carpigiani gelato from scratch. As fun and informative as the class was, the best part was eating the resulting gelato and sampling other flavors in the gelateria. We even got the opportunity to sample an espresso prototype that may end up on the menu. Yum!
Watch our YouTube video to see what it’s like to learn how to make gelato at Carpigiani’s Discovering Gelato class.
A favorite of noted food author and blogger David Lebovitz, Il Gelatauro is a bit off the tourist trail. We almost skipped this gelateria since it was a bit of a walk from our Bologna apartment, but we’re glad we made the extra effort with two days to spare. Despite its traditional atmosphere, the team at Il Gelatauro uses organic ingredients like Australian ginger and Bronte pistachios to create some of the best gelato in Italy.
Il Gelatauro is located at Via San Vitale, 98 / b, 40125 Bologna BO, Italy.
Further Afield – Gelateria Bloom
“[There was] an American guy walking in Vignola thinking about Milan.” Actually, we’d like to know the story here since that was the name of a gelato flavor (peanut butter, Vignola sour cherries and bitters) we ate at Gelateria Bloom in Modena. Despite the unique concept and intriguing name, Gelateria Bloom excels with simple flavors like pesca (peach) made with pure ingredients and without additives. As an extra bonus, the gelateria has a delightful bleach white decor that is ideal for Instagram photos.
Gelateria Bloom is located at Via Luigi Carlo Farini, 23, 41121 Modena MO, Italy.
Hungry for more? Check out our Bologna Food Guide for tips on where to eat some of the best food in Bologna.
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