Home Cultural Exploration Hungry? Top Gelato Spots in Lombardia

Hungry? Top Gelato Spots in Lombardia

written by Penny Sadler

gelato in Lombardia @PennySadler 2013

A perennial favorite, gelato seems to taste so much better in Italy than anywhere else. Perhaps it is simply that when you’re on vacation, everything tastes better?

I was recently in the Lombardia region in northern Italy, and sampled more gelato shops and flavors that I have on previous trips to Italy. From tiny towns like Orta San Giulio to the capital city of Lombardia, Milan, I never missed a chance to try a new gelateria. I wish I had eaten more!

I sometimes go to a shop in Dallas that was started by a family from northern Italy, but it’s just not the same. I was told by an Italian friend it’s because in Italy, gelato is made fresh from scratch every day.

Here’s the scoop (pun intended) on Top Gelato Spots in Lombardia

Top Milan Gelaterias:

Vanilla specializes in traditional Italian flavors like hazelnut, pistachio, chocolate, and pinoli. During the summer, they offer local and unique fruit flavors, too, such as prickly pear, goji berry, pomegranate, and mango.

Another unique ingredient used at Vanilla that I’ve never seen anywhere else is olive oil. The olive oil replaces the dairy and so is great for those who are lactose intolerant and have other digestive ailments. And, it’s good for your heart – why not have gelato every day?

I spent several hours wandering around near the Duomo in Milano, and noticed that Vanilla always had a line. Plus they had some pretty little bistro tables set with lace and umbrellas, and I was ready to sit down. Most gelaterias have no seating inside or out – you simply stand around outside, or walk away with your gelato.

I tried the coconut and watermelon. I often order coconut, but this was my first watermelon gelato. If you can taste summer in a food, watermelon would be it for me, it’s sweet and refreshing, and watermelon gelato – yum!

Vanilla Gelato, Milan Italy &#64:PennySadler 2013

I noticed most everyone took their gelato in a cone, but I always get it in a cup. I think I agree with the purists that the cone distracts you from the true flavor of the gelato. At Vanilla, the flavors are so crisp and true, I don’t want anything interfering.

The fellow in this photo knew what I was up to with my camera and gave me a clear shot. Thank you, kind stranger!

Enjoying at Gelato at Vanilla, Milan, italy @PennySadler 2013

Vanilla is located behind the Duomo di Milano.

Vanilla Gelateria
Via Pattari, 2 20122 Milano

Grom gelateria, Milan, Italy @PennySadler 2013

Grom has built its reputation on using only organic, fresh ingredients from around Italy: Sfusato lemon from Amalfi, and the Leonforte peach, for example. They have a central farm where all the raw ingredients are mixed, ensuring their high standards are met.

I did not eat gelato at Grom, but if the crowd of people outside is any indication, I’d give it a try next time. They started with one shop in Torino in 2003, and have since expanded all over the world. You can eat Grom gelato now in Paris, Tokyo, Malibu, and NYC. They must be doing something right!

There are seven locations in Milan alone, and of course there’s one near the Duomo di Milano. In case you’re wondering, Grom is the surname of one of the founders.

Via Santa Margherita, 16, 20121 Milano ‎

Britz gelateria, Voghera, Italy @PennySadler 2013

Gelato in Voghera:

Britz. We went to Britz one night when it seemed like the entire town was out for the evening. Within two blocks I saw more gelaterias than you can imagine! Apparently gelato is the thing in Voghera.

My friend had the chocolate and hazelnut (two typical Italian flavors) and pronounced it “Very good!” I tried the lemon sorbetto and found it a bit too tart and lacking the creamy texture I was seeking. What do I know? Perhaps I just ordered the wrong thing?

The location in Piazza del Duomo, however, is excellent. There is no seating inside, but it’s more fun to be outside and people watch anyway. In Italy everyone goes out in the evening to walk (passeggiata) and visit with friends, family, and neighbors. It’s an experience you cannot duplicate anywhere else in the world.

Do you think the folks in the photo are wondering if the people to their left are checking out what flavor they got? LOL

Britz Gelateria
Piazza del Duomo,Voghera

Mojito Cafe, gelato colors @PennySadler 2013

gelateria, San Giulio di Orta, Lake Orta, Italy @PennySadler 2013

Gelato in Orta San Giulio:

Mojito Cafe. Here I found the lemon sorbetto (limone) I craved. I don’t know how they do it, because I don’t think they add any dairy as it’s a fruit flavor, but it was creamy, yet light – sweet, but not too sweet. I adore lemon sorbetto in Italy. I should have taken a larger serving!
An Italian friend told me, “You are an Italian girl,” because limone is the most Italian of flavors. (Those Italian guys always know what to say)

The location in romantic Lake Orta didn’t hurt, either…probably made it taste even better. I’ll certainly never forget it.

This gelateria with the improbable name offers drinks and coffees as well as gelato, and there is seating outside. However, there is a minimum of 7 euros per person to sit at a table. When we were there it was raining and every table was taken. We found a doorstep on a tiny side street and sat under the awning.

Gelato flavors from Mojito Cafe @PennySadler 2013

I don’t have an address or website for Mojito Cafe, but there’s only one main street in Orta San Giulio – you can’t miss it.

Mojito Cafe
San Giulio di Orta, Lake Orta

All materials ©PennySadler 2013. All rights reserved.

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Meg Travels August 6, 2013 at 10:08 pm

I always like to know where to get great gelato in Italy – this is important information!

Penny Sadler August 6, 2013 at 10:34 pm

You obviously are a seasoned traveler and have your priorities in order.;)

Penny July 30, 2013 at 10:17 am

I wish I had a lemon sorbetto now!

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Bethaney - Flashpacker Family July 15, 2013 at 11:08 pm

Don’t tempt me!!!!!! I ate way too much gelato when we were in Sydney last month.

Penny July 15, 2013 at 11:52 pm

But Bethaney, surely you know then, life is short, eat gelato first!

Sandra Foyt (@SandraFoyt) July 13, 2013 at 9:50 pm

I think that if I had the chance, I would eat gelato for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. These look delicious!

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Cat of Sunshine and Siestas July 12, 2013 at 2:13 pm

I would put Milan on my list solely for gelato. I’ve always been an ice cream lover! As Elle said, we have plenty of places for a fix, and if you’re ever in Seville, I know just the place to take you!

Penny July 12, 2013 at 3:04 pm

Since you and Elle are both in Spain, I’m thinking a gelato tour alla 3 Musketeers!

Elle Draper July 10, 2013 at 8:30 am

I love ice-cream… because you don’t have to be hungry to enjoy it. Lovely photos, and yet another great reason to get my backside across to Italy.
Elle xx

Penny July 10, 2013 at 9:22 am

Elle never thought if it like that before. Good one!
Check the website for Grom, don’t know where you are but they just might have a store there.

Elle Draper July 10, 2013 at 9:35 am

Thanks Penny – sadly no Grom nearby. I’m in Andalucia.
I really do want to get to Italy though. Stunning scenery, chilled Pinot Grigio, amazing cuisine… and now ice cream! What’s not to love? x

megtraveling July 10, 2013 at 8:29 am

This is one of my favorite topics. Your pictures and recommendations are great too!

Penny July 10, 2013 at 11:34 pm

Meg, I’ve been drooling over your gelato pics in the past too!

francaangloitalian July 10, 2013 at 5:56 am

I’m so happy to read that Italian ice cream is your favorite, it does taste different, does it?
If I well remember there is a ‘gelateria’ in Rome called Grom too, I went there and the gelato is superb! 🙂

Penny July 10, 2013 at 9:19 am

Yes Grom is international! I will try it for sure. My Italian host said it was one if his favorites.

Micki & Charles (@BarefootNomads) July 9, 2013 at 2:56 pm

Oh, this looks delicious. I had a strawberry cheesecake gelato in Nerja Spain that was absolutely wonderful. Can’t wait to go to Italy and try gelato there!

Penny July 10, 2013 at 11:35 pm

I’ll be interested to hear your comparisons. 🙂

Tales and Travels of the Tin Man July 8, 2013 at 6:50 pm

I agree that gelato tastes better in Italy than anywhere else on the planet!

Penny July 10, 2013 at 11:35 pm


wanderingeducators July 8, 2013 at 4:13 pm


Penny July 8, 2013 at 4:33 pm

I want a limone sorbetto – now!


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