The country’s foodie capital Bologna mightn’t be famous for its gelato the way Florence is (check out our guide here to the best gelato in Florence), but it has plenty to choose from and is home to Carpigiani and its Gelato University (you read right). That said, not all of them are necessarily worth the sugar rush or "artigianale" (100% homemade) regardless of what they claim!
So we couldn't resist putting together a list of our favorite addresses and arguably the best gelato in Bologna! And if you start feeling guilty after putting all of them on your travel itinerary, here’s a little incentive: Gelato contains on average half the calories of regular ice cream. It's also richer, creamier, and has less air than ice cream and you don’t have to eat as much to feel satisfied.
So maybe help yourself to a third scoop just to be sure our recommendations really are legit?
Cremeria Santo Stefano
A classic family-run gelateria that whips up Italian standards like pistachio and “cioccolato fondente” (dark chocolate) using the best imported ingredients like Turkish pistachios and Venezuelan chocolate. Mentioned in the 2019 Gambero Rosso good food guide, Cremeria Santo Stefano also excel with less than expected flavors like Williams pear and celery, milk and hay, and a dairy-free version of gelato made with yuzu, a Japanese citrus fruit.
Opening hours: Tuesday - Sunday from 11am to 11pm
Address: Via Santo Stefano, 70/c
This all-organic gelateria uses natural kuzu, a Japanese root, and baobob, an African fruit, to thicken its award-winning gelato. It’s definitely a different mouthfeel to your traditional gelato, but the absence of dairy does help the flavors shine. All their gelatos (and cones!) are vegan, gluten-free, locally-sourced, ethical and organic and the crowd favorites include "Cuba" (dark chocolate with sour cherries) and "Curcuma" (turmeric with cinnamon and black pepper). Expect to pay a little more than the standard city gelato price though.
Opening hours: every day 12pm to 2am
Address: Via S. Vitale, 37
One Bologna’s most exciting gelaterias takes its name from the mythical ‘tori’ or bulls of ancient Greek and Roman myths, a nod both to the fact that ice cream is made from cow’s milk and wafer cones are shaped like their horns. But Gelatauro is so much more than its creative name. The gelateria was named best in Europe by Focus magazine, got a coveted mention on famed foodie David Lebovitz’s blog and even made it on the London Time’s list of 30 things to eat before you die. While it’s location is 100 per cent Northern Italy, its flavours aren’t, drawing inspiration from the exotic aromas of Southern Italy in gelatos like the “Principe di Calabria” (bergamot and jasmine) and “Regno delle Due Sicilie” (almond and Bronte pistachio). In keeping with its southern influences, the gelateria also makes a selection of Sicilian cakes and desserts as well as chocolates and truffles scented with candied fruits, nuts and spices like saffron and ginger.
Opening hours: Tuesday- Thursday 8:30am to 10:30pm, Friday and Saturday 8:30am to 11:30pm and Sunday 9am to 8:30pm
Address: Via S. Vitale, 98/b
Four foodie friends brought together by a shared love of gelato produce a scoop of something they’re calling “easily digestible” and “dynamic”. It’s also gluten free as Gallieria 49 joins the list of Bolognese ice creameries that use the Japanese root, kuzu, to thicken their gelato. Their flavors are pretty standard, but they do offer a fantastic selection of organic sorbets (the chocolate of the day is always fun), traditional Sicilian granitas and brioche burgers stuffed with your choice of gelato and whipped cream. If you had to pick just one flavor, don’t skip their speciality, grapefruit sorbet.
Opening hours: Everyday 12pm to 2am
Address: Via Galliera, 49/b
La Sorbetteria Castiglione
A Bologna institution that’s been slinging scoops since the 1990s, La Sorbetteria Castiglione makes arguably the city’s best “gianduia” (chocolate mixed with hazelnuts) and actually have a handful of trademarked gelatos named after their children and grandchildren, including the Ludivico (caramelised hazelnuts, chocolate and hazelnut cream), the Emma (ricotta, eggs and caramelised figs) and Edoardo (caramelised pine nuts, mascarpone and liqueur). Aside from all that caramelisation, you can also get a Moretti, which is the “first chocolate-dipped gelato popsicle ever invented”.
Opening hours: every day 12pm to 2am
Address: Via Castiglione, 44 d/e
One of Bologna’s more creative gelaterias, Gelateria Gianni has some very fun names for their icy treats. Like the The Lord of the Rings (cream, hazelnuts and white chocolate biscuits) and The Lawyer (hazelnut, gianduia and chocolate rice crispies), which will, they promise, “take your to court” flavor-wise. The place is also really decently priced, scooping up giant portions of 3 flavors for just €5.
Opening hours: every day midday to 10pm
Address: Via Monte Grappa, 11/A
This artisan gelateria is the Bolognesi’s top pick for best gelateria even if it is located well outside the city center. It’s worth the walk though, if only for the signature flavors Alice (mascarpone and chocolate) or Amalfi (puff pastry and Amalfi lemons). Expect a line whenever you visit, regardless of time or day, and consider skipping the cone and ordering the gelato-stuffed focaccia instead!
Opening hours: Tuesday - Sunday midday to 11:30pm
Address: Via Porrettana, 158
Cremeria San Francesco
An organic and artisan gelateria with beautifully paired and seasonal combinations like pumpkin, chestnuts and salted pistachios. It recently topped Dissapore’s list of best artisan gelaterias in Bologna, winning added praise for its gelato lab, which is on the premises and open for all to see, if you’re curious to watch the magic happen! Keep an eye out for the flavor of the week, which never disappoints.
Opening hours: Monday 3:30pm to 1am, Tuesday- Saturday midday to 1am and Sunday 11am to 1am
Address: Piazza Ognissanti, 3
Don Peppinu is actually one of a chain of gelaterias run by Procopio Cutò, a true Sicilian native who claims to make the best Sicilian gelato in Italy. So what separates a Sicilian gelato from all the others? Well for starters, most Sicilians claim they invented the gelato. The recipe also calls for less milk and more cream and a double dose of the flavoring ingredients producing a gelato that is far richer and more flavorful. At Tasta, you really have to try the award winners, like the chocolate granita, the hazelnut gelato and the Liquirizia, made with Amarelli liquorice. Then there are the Sicilian cannoli, which are good enough to convince you to pack up everything and move to Bologna.
Address: Via S. Felice, 4
Opening hours: Monday, Wednesday and Thursday 11am to 10pm, Friday- Saturday 11am to 11:45pm, Sunday 11am to 11pm
Open since 1942, Gelateria Ugo is one of Bologna’s oldest ice cream shops and their dedication to using artisan methods and high-quality raw materials hasn’t wavered over the decades. Pooh poohing the latest gelato fads and trends, Gelateria Ugo sticks to the classics and their vanilla custard and hazelnut are the locals’ favorites. They also make a mean gelato focaccia with whipped cream, single-portion zabaione and old school coffee desserts.
Address: Via S. Felice, 24
Opening hours: Wednesday- Saturday 1:30pm to 8:30pm and Sunday 11:30am to 8:30pm