Out of the hundreds of reasons to go to Italy, “for the gelato” sits pretty close to the top of the list. It’s tasty, easy to find, and the perfect grab-and-go treat—day or night, summer or winter, for breakfast or dinner. The secret to making it taste even better than it already does? Ordering it in Italian! Not only will you feel accomplished, but you'll impress the locals too.
As far as basic Italian phrases go, the ones you’ll use to order your gelato are easy to learn and to remember. These are the key terms you need to know:
- Piccolo (PEE-koh-loh) – Small
- Medio (MEH-dee-oh) – Medium
- Grande (grahn-day) – Large
- Cono (KOH-noh) – Cone
- Coppetta (koh-PET-tah) – Cup
To order your gelato, all you need to do is fill in the blanks!
“Buongiorno, vorrei un gelato piccolo in cono, per favore.” In English, that’s “Hello, I would like a small gelato in a cone, please.”
Now comes the best and most important part—picking your flavors (il gusti)! In Italy, this typically happens after you’ve chosen what size you want and the way you want it served (i.e. in a cup or in a cone). Here’s a rundown of some of the most common gelato flavors:
Amarena – Sour cherry
Caffè – Coffee
Cannella – Cinnamon
Cioccolata – Chocolate
Cioccolato fondente – Dark chocolate
Fior di latte – Directly translated, this means “flower of milk.” This flavor is most similar to what we’d call sweet cream.
Fragola – Strawberry
Nocciola – Hazelnut
Pistacchio – Pistachio
Stracciatella – Chocolate chip
What gelato flavor would you order in Italy? Tell us on our Facebook page!
Watch our guide to gelato in Florence
Did you know Florence was the brithplace of modern gelato? Expert tour director, Stefania, talks about the history of Italian gelato, how it's made and the best places to try it on tour in Florence.