Milan is too darn hot right now–in the literal sense that is. (In the figurative sense, Milan’s always hot as far as I’m concerned.)
We got hit with two heat waves before June and there’s seemingly more on the horizon–this week, in particular, is a scorcher, or, as the Italians would say, giorni di fuoco (days of fire). It’s not even officially “summer” and the mercury has already reached 97° F/36° C, so I’ve interpreted these hot spells as a harbinger of how the hottest days are yet to come. While I firmly believe gelato is perennially in order, the heat proved a fitting prompt for me to blog about spots to have gelato in Milan.
I’m lucky that I now have two excellent gelato shops close to home–well, three if I’m up for a 15-minute walk. In general, gelato isn’t something for which I make a special trip–unless it’s to Gelato Giusto during uva fragola (Concord grape) season. But I do have a lot of gelato shops that I love and if I find myself in the vicinity of any, I always make it a point to drop by for un cono con due gusti (a cone with two flavors).
That being said, I don’t know every single gelato shop in Milan, so if you’d like some tips on how to discern the good gelato from the bad when you’re in Italy, check out my blog post on the topic. I will say that it seems like every gelato shop that has opened in Milan over the last five years tends to take quality and seasonality seriously, so there are undoubtedly several great places that aren’t on my list. If you’re traveling to Milan (or anywhere in Italy for that matter), the said post will help you determine which is vale la pena (worth it)–these are all safe bets for gelato, but just because a place isn’t on here, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not good. It might just mean I haven’t been there.
By the way, this list is by no means exhaustive–I’ll be updating it ongoingly as I discover more spots that make my heart sing. Also, you should also be able to find vegan and gluten-free gelato at pretty much all of these shops. Lastly, this list isn’t a “ranking” – I listed the gelaterie in alphabetical order.
1. Artico Gelato
Maurizio Poloni, who has been making gelato since 1981, opened Artico Gelato in Isola in 2012. Today, Artico has expanded into somewhat of a mini-empire with three additional outposts: Duomo (2017), Brera (2021), and Città Studi (2021). Just five minutes from the original Isola outpost is the Artico Gelato School where aspiring professional gelato makers enroll to learn the craft. Despite Artico’s expansion, the gelato quality has remained consistent and remains some of the best in town. The pistacchio salato (salted pistachio), is a signature, but honestly, it’s impossible to go wrong with any flavor. In spring 2022, Artico implemented a “free from” concept at the Brera location, which now focuses exclusively on gelato that’s “free from” milk and gluten. Isola: Via Luigi Porro Lambertenghi, 15 (open sevn days); Duomo: Via Dogana, 1 (closed Monday); Brera: Via Brera, 29 (closed Monday); Città Studi: Via Giovanni Pacini, 17 (closed Monday; website
2. Crema Alta Gelateria
Crema Alta Gelateria isn’t Bulgari’s first foray into food (the group’s hotel restaurants are helmed by excellent chefs), though the shop marks its first foray into Italy’s beloved frozen delight. The dozens of flavors on offer are divine—my only gripe is that choosing always proves a challenge! You want to go back to the flavor you love but the options you haven’t tried beckon. The vast array includes strawberry and basil; crema classica c’era una volta (classic cream once upon a time); saffron with almond and lemon; orange with extra-virgin olive oil and pepper; Amalfi Coast lemon; and chestnut and rum, among others. The first location, the previously mentioned 15-minute walk from my house, opened in 2020 and the second one in Piazza Napoli arrived earlier this year. City Live/Dommadossola: Via Giovanni da Procida, 29, (closed Monday); Piazza Napoli: Piazza Napoli, 15 (closed Monday); website
3. Gelateria Sioli e Bissoli
I came across this Porta Romana gelateria following a sweltering August day at the Bagni Misteriosi—gelato was in order and Google Maps had led us here. Quality is evident at first sight and the flavors include white chocolate, almond, and pistachio; tiramisu; and amaretto. Though I have to say, the mandorle d’Avola (Avola almond) granita tastes just as good as made-in-Sicily granita. When it’s not granita season, the gelato incarnation of that flavor (pictured below) is my go-to. In fact, when I’m dining in this neighborhood, I usually skip dessert and take my final course here. Via Lodovico Muratori, 26 (open seven days); website
4. Gelato Giusto
I had gelato here for the first time in August 2012 (before I lived in Italy), and every subsequent visit has been just as enjoyable as the first. Alas, I don’t live in that neighborhood, so I don’t get there as often as I’d like, but when I do, I’m always delighted. Owner Vittoria Bortolazzo earned a pastry arts degree at Le Corden Bleu in London and at Gelato Giusto, she creates alta pasticceria (high pastry) gelato, and it’s just exquisite. The flavors, which change frequently, include rosemary and chocolate crumble; cinnamon, blackberry, and caramelized pistachio; and matcha alongside classics like stracciatella, almond, and hazelnut. And as I mentioned earlier, the Concord grape flavor is insanely delicious. Also, come Christmas time, the panettone-flavored gelato is a must. Via S. Gregorio, 17; closed Monday: website
5. Gelateria Paganelli
I believe no “where to have gelato in Milan” list would be complete without Gelateria Paganelli, which still belongs to the same family who founded it in the 1930s. I love the spirit of this place–I feel like it embodies the juxtaposition of the old and the new that exemplifies Milan. This is thanks a good part to Francesco Paganelli, who currently runs the show. He has brought the gelateria forward without compromising its classic, nostalgic charm. Expect lots of wine-infused sorbet flavors like Franciacorta and Cabernet, and plenty of playful savory flavors in addition to the classics–the Milanesissimo is made with rice and saffron. One of the most special spots in town, this labor of love should be on everyone’s Milan list. Via Gustavo Fara, 14; closed Sunday; website
6. Il Massimo del Gelato
This classic gelateria, whose name references founder Massimo Travani, has been around 2001 and is conveniently located in my neighborhood. One of the first to focus on quality ingredients, Il Massimo del Gelato hasn’t lost its momentum over the decades as many new shops following this philosophy have opened. You’ll always find at least ten different chocolate flavors on offer, and my current fave is a new one: Vecchia Milano (Old Milan), comprising pan de mej, cornmeal cookies flavored with elderflower typical of Milan/Lombardy. On my most recent visit, I paired it with the Noto almond (Noto’s in Sicily), and it was simply dreamy. Via Lodovico Castelvetro, 18 (closed Monday); website
When I’m in the Navigli, Latteneve is my gelato go-to. It just so happened to open in 2014, the year I moved to Milan. Owner Carlo Lanzoni honed his skills at Maurizio Poloni’s Artico school and the quality of his gelato is a testament to his mastery of the craft. Latteneve boasts several interesting flavors, such as the signature Grigio Milano (grey Milan) crafted from a base of peanuts and sesame seeds. I also just learned that come September, they make uva fragola (Concord grape) gelato, and I can’t wait to check it out this year. Other flavors include rose petal, cheesecake, and cuneesi al rhum (a Piemontese chocolate), and they’re always offering something fun. In honor of the recent strawberry moon, they created a strawberry granita spritz. Also, Latteneve’s ample selection of vegan and gluten-free options warrants a shout-out. Via Vigevano, 27; open seven days; website
8. Pavé Granite e Gelati
When Pavé opened in 2012, it was a gamechanger on so many levels. Owners Diego Bamberghi, Giovanni Giberti, and Luca Scanni applied their signature vanguard approach to gelato (and granita) to open this shop in 2016. Unsurprisingly, it quickly became just as beloved as its sibling. Simona Carmagnola oversees the excellent flavors that include tarte tatin, gianduja, straciatella di ricotta; pistachio; and peanut and banana. But for something truly Lombardo, go for the sbrisolona (named for an almond butter pastry typical of Mantova). A second outpost opened in 2021. Via Cesare Battisti 21; Via Cadore, 30; both open seven days; website
Another historic spot that never disappoints despite all the newcomers. This gelato kiosk opened in 1937, and today you can find it parked at Stazione Milano Centrale (Milan’s Central Train Station). Expect fine iterations of classic flavors like fior di latte, pistachio, and hazelnut. They also sell granite and offer a Sicilian-style breakfast treat: a granita-filled brioche. Look for it on the Piazza Luigi di Savoia side of the station on the corner of Via Pergolesi–it’s all the way toward the back, past the airport bus boarding area. Open seven days; website
10. Terra Gelato
The second location of this gelateria is footsteps from my house, so I’ve been hitting it up rather often. In fact, its close proximity tempts me on days when I normally wouldn’t head out for gelato. In 2018, owner Gianfranco Sampò collaborated with Massimo Grosso and Francesco Sampò to open this ingredient-driven gelato shop which highlights several DOP and PGI products. Flavors include baci di dama (chocolate hazelnut cookies from Piedmont), tiramisu, and a to-die-for peanut butter (that goes exceptionally well with the salted caramel). The second location opened in April 2022. Pizza Diocleziano/Via Lossana/ Via Vitruvio, 38; both are open seven days; website
Cover photo: Instagram @gelatogiusto