Have I mentioned it is hot in Italy in the summer?
So how do you survive touring Italy in the summer when it's 95 degrees, always sunny, and 100% humidity? One word, gelato.
It is perfectly acceptable to practically live off the stuff in the sweltering summer months. But, be warned, not all gelato is created equal. Much like picking a restaurant in Italy, there are a couple sure-fire ways to spot high-quality, artisanal gelato.
1) Don't be seduced by brightly colored gelato.
Natural fruits and flavorings don't yield vibrant colors. That is all food dye!
2) In fact, don't be seduced by mounds of visible gelato.
True artisanal gelato makers would never expose their gelato to the air (you would need to add preservatives and keep it too cold to display the gelato in this way). Instead, look for gelato you can't see. Quality gelato is stored in recessed and covered stainless steel containers. Pick gelato for the way it tastes, not the way it looks.
3) Look for seasonal flavor options and organic or "bio" production.
Here are some of my favorite gelaterie in Florence (these are all the same high-quality, your favorite will come down to what flavor(s) you prefer):
Cantina Gelato - Try the cinnamon and whiskey or the marscapone and Nutella
Edoardo - Try the chianti flavor
Marco Ottaviano - Try the fig (when in season)
And finally some more tips for beating the heat:
1) Wear natural, light weight fabrics
3) Try an iced cappucino or shakerato
4) Start early and siesta through the hottest part of the day
5) Wear a hat
Unfortunately, the summer heat in Italy is tough to bear. But fortunately, it is the last thing you will remember from your trip, especially after all of that gelato!
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