Next topic: Gelaterias

This is probably dangerous to write about before lunch!

Cinque Terre- Gelateria Il Porticciolo, immediately next to the small sand beach in Vernazza, is a tiny gelateria where I highly recommend the pineapple flavor. Then by the time you hike further south through Corniglia to Manarola (my favorite of the five towns) you will want some more and I suggest stopping at the gelateria with the covered wood patio on your right as you start to head up the hill of the main street. Not touristy, cheaper than some you'll find and absolutely yummy.

Lucca- the oldest and most famous is Gelateria Veneto on Via Vittorio Veneto, as you're heading from Piazza Napoleone south toward the train station (it's on your right and the restaurant next to it is also great) Try the other fancy desserts in the glass case too. If you haven't had granita (the original Italian water ice) you'll need to try it at Il Pinguino on the north side of Piazza Napoleone- it has the best in town according to the locals. My personal recommendation for amazing gelato would have to be Gelateria La Tosca on Via San Paolino. It is owned by a very friendly British couple who gave up lives of insurance sales and law to move to the Italian countryside and learn how to make gelato from scratch. They make everything in-house, and some of their versions of the standard flavors (like the super dark chocolate) are the best I've had anywhere. They usually have 30 or more flavors to choose from. Also Gelateria Momo (Via Della Fratta- east of the Anfiteatro, on a quiet residential street) is fantastic. If you stop here, try the Panna Cotta (looks rather plain, but it's so delicious), Pinoli (Pine nut-it's amazing, who knew!) and their berry flavors if they have some.  Also in that neighborhood is Pizzeria Mara Meo (Piazza di San Francesco) which is always packed with people enjoying some of the best pizza on earth (at good prices too- it's a local hangout).

In Rome, the gelato that stands out in my mind is at a little unnamed Bar Gelateria on the corner of Via Arezzo and Via Catanzaro in a residential area (that I happened to be in because our hostel was in the neighborhood). The chocolate flavor is what I remember, I probably paired it with either coconut, pear or both (both flavors go really well with the dark dark dark chocolate). Also, if you stand with your back to the Pantheon and look a little ahead and to the right, the gelateria at the corner- that one was good too. (using googlemaps, I find the name is Nice Ice)

home of some amazing chocolate gelato in Rome

When in Florence- be careful. Anywhere downtown the gelato will be expensive and they try to trick you by showing three or four sizes of cups- all the medium to extra large ones, so it doesn't look like you have smaller options. On my first trip to Italy, we fell for it and ended up paying €6 a piece for what appeared to be the smallest dish... until when leaving we saw the various smaller sizes behind the counter. Shady shady.

Gelato is always a good idea for breakfast

Naples- like I said, the city's not that great, so buy gelato everywhere :) It can only improve your experience.

Capri- I mentioned the €7.50 gelato that I split with my sister in the ritzy glitzy Piazza Umberto I in the town of Capri. Still, it was amazing and worth buying something in order to sit at the tables under the umbrellas and people watch. I wish I could have stayed on the island to witness the glitz at night. It's something of a mecca for people with money to burn.

Venice- I have sampled a lot of Venetian gelaterias and they tend to follow the common sense logic that, while all of great quality, the price goes up the closer you are to Piazza San Marco. I suggest trying any you find on the quiet side (east), near where I suggested you hop off the Vaporetto 1, and sit on a bench on the the tree-lined avenue, Viale Giuseppe Garibaldi (only one in Venice!). Enjoy it because even after just a few hours in the Venetian summer heat, you will miss the shade...