Turin is one of Italy’s most unsung cities, frequently overlooked in favour of blockbuster destinations like Rome, Florence and Venice. That’s a shame because the Piedmontese capital has a lot to say for itself. It was the original capital of Italy, the first city to import chocolate and the birthplace of the aperitif. And, it also boasts some of the best gelato in the country. From 300-year old cafés to innovative gelato laboratories, here are seven of the best gelato shops in Turin.
7 of the best ice cream and gelato shops in Turin
1. Fiorio Cafè
Fiorio Cafè first opened its doors in 1780, predating the unification of Italy. For hundreds of years, it was a hub of social and political activity, bursting with activity from the artistic, intellectual and political classes of the capital of the Kingdom of Sardinia. In fact, it was so important that King Carlo Alberto allegedly used to start each morning saying, “How are things at Caffè Fiorio?”, to find out how things were ticking along in the city.
Don’t come here expecting cones, it’s all about the ice cream sundaes at Fiorio. There are branches across the city, but for the best head to its most historic premises along the Via Po. It’s the perfect spot to duck into a debaucherous dessert, tucked in among the gilded mirrors, velvet seat and stuccoed walls in the aristocratic drawing-room.
Since opening its first shop in 2002, Grom has become a global sensation with outposts in Lisbon, London, Paris, Prague and Shanghai, as well as all across Italy. Don’t let that detract from its brilliance – it’s world-famous for a reason. Owner’s Guido Marinetti and Federico Grom describe themselves as “curious, details freaks, agricultural nerds and emotional” on the website. It shows in the ice cream. Gelato here is 100% natural with no artificial flavours or flavourings. It’s usually gluten-free too.
Flavours are classic, made with high-quality traceable ingredients. The chocolate, for example, is made with Ecuadorian chocolate, the coffee with Guatemalan coffee beans and the salted caramel with Himalayan pink salt. Each month you can enjoy a ‘Menu of the Month’ too. At the time of writing, this month’s flavour is ‘Torta Sacher’, inspired by the Viennese Sacher Cake and made with apricot compote, chocolate gelato and topped with saoiardi biscuits. Mouthwatering stuff.
Another historic entry for the list, Pepino was founded in 1884. It received a royal warrant to supply the House of Savoy as a testament to its extraordinary scoops. But in 1939 the Pepino cafe invented Pinguino®, the first-ever gelato served on a stick and covered in chocolate. Back then it would set you back just one Lira. The original recipe has stood the test of time although, admittedly, the price has gone up. Crowd pleasers include mint, violet, coffee and hazelnut. You’ll also find a whole assortment of traditional gelato scoops served up in a cone or bowl, as well as tiny pastries.
There are a few shops across Turin, but the oldest is in Piazza Carignano. Inside it’s all polished panelling, velvet drapes and silver service.
This gelato shop translates as “Great! Good is Not Enough”, which doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but we can forgive them on account of their gobsmackingly good ice cream. It’s definitely not one for purists though. Flavours tend to veer towards the innovative, using ingredients like hemp and smoked fiordilatte.
Founders Emanuele Monero and Giulio Rocci look to the past for their creations, with creative combinations that recall nostalgic memories for everyone. Crowd favourite ‘Mozia’ uses bread and chocolate to conjure up memories of being given chocolate spread and bread to fill the gap until dinner as a child. The ‘Walk in the Woods’ flavour imitates flavours of the mountains, with bread crusts, mozzarella, pine and berries.
We’re not the only ones raving about it this gelato shop in Turin either. Gambero Rosso awarded the ice cream shop with the “Three Cones”, one of the most prestigious awards you can receive on the ice cream circuit.
For classic creamy flavours, you can’t beat Gelateria La Romana. You might even spot a few celebs here too; Hugh Grant says he’s a big fan. It’s big on scoops and flavours here, with quirky combinations like the 150 Anni (to mark the Italian unification) in the colours of the Italian flag. Cones here are filled with a decadent chocolate fondant filling too. Beyond the usual gelatos, you can enjoy sorbets and slushies – including an alcoholic mojito slush– as well as cakes and pastries.
There are a few different locations across the city but the Port Susa spot is conveniently located just outside the train station. Originating in Rimini, the gelato shop first opened its doors in 1947 and has been serving happy customers across the country ever since.
Silvano Moschini opened up his gelateria in 1960, paving the way for the Slow Food renaissance in the gelato scene. Gelato here is all-natural, made with high-quality ingredients from local producers. The classic Guanduja chocolate ice cream is made with hazelnuts from piedmont, the rice cream is made with rice from Vercelli and the chestnuts are sourced from Agrimontana. Not one to shy away from sharper flavours, visitors can also enjoy the green apple or citrus fruits of Sicily. Its gluten-free range is superb, making it particularly popular with gluten-intolerant visitors. If you’re making a night of it, try one of the cocktails with ice cream. The Daiquiri with Mango is perfect for balmy summer evenings.
For fresh, affordable gelato in Turin, you can’t go wrong with Alberto Marchetti. All the gelato is served within 24-hours of being produced (in-house), priced at just two euros for a couple of scoops. Alberto grew up in a small town in the countryside outside Turin and his ice cream creations are inspired by his childhood. Gelato here is sweet, fresh and creamy – totally unlike any other. In fact, ingredients are sourced from workshops and farms he’s visited and seen with his own eyes, so quality is top-notch. He even publishes the ingredients for every flavour on his website.
Though Alberto Marchetti now has a chain of gelaterias, we recommend the shopfront atPiazza CLN – it’s bigger and offers more flavours. The two-storey shop sells every flavour imaginable, including the famous chocolate-flavoured Cremà.