I know you are all ready to jot down an address in Rome, Florence or Venice. Sorry to disappoint the foodies between you, but the best Italian ice-cream is neither to be found in the eternal city nor on a canal in Venice. The prize goes to a little gelateria (a shop that only sells ice-cream, gelato in Italian) called Oasi del Goloso, with a a fig/ricotta ice-cream to die for!
The Oasis Ice-Cream shop is located on the main square of Paganico, a little town in Southern Tuscany. A place which no tourist cares about, and that's exactly why the ice-cream tastes so delicious: the statistics clearly show (at least my very private ones) that the more tourists in a town, the worse the ice-cream. And with Paganico's gelateria just catering to the locals (a few greedy expats like me don't count) the ice-cream tastes the way any ice-cream in Rome or Venice should be tasting - but normally isn't.
Now one may wonder, why should Swiss Miss be in a position to tell the world where to find the best ice-cream in Italy. In fact Swiss people are supposed to talk about watches and chocolate, and maybe about banks (though not too popular an argument right now). But we've also got a historic right to voice our knowledgeable opinion about ice-cream. Carlo Gatti, the genius who opened the first ice-cream store in the world (in London in 1849) was indeed from Switzerland. He was born in the canton Ticino, the Southern part of the country where people speak Italian (that's why his name sounds Italian - but even though the people talk Italian they are SWISS!). Now, I'm aware that many an American between you will be surprised to hear about the existence of an Italian speaking part in Sweden... never mind.
Apart of my common ancestry with Carlo Gatti, I am also living with a man from Tuscany who knows everything, literally EVERYTHING about ice-cream. To give you an idea: right now whilst I'm writing my 'best ice-cream in Italy' blog post, he is calling from the kitchen, wondering whether I'd like to taste his sorbetto di finocchio all'arancio (which is a fennel orange sorbet) or whether I'd rather have a go with a lemon/basil ice-cream. The man is a builder and making ice-cream is his way of relaxing once he gets back home. Remember that Kylie Mynogue song:lucky,lucky,lucky,...
That's exactly how I feel. Not just should, I AM so lucky. My Tuscan native spends his long days building houses under the hot Tuscan sun - whilst I spend them contemplating Kylie's 80ies outfits - and once back home the first thing he can think of is which new ice-cream to prepare for his beloved family, and occasionally for a few close friends.
Don't despair - you know now about L'Oasi del Goloso and Paganico is only a 2 1/2 hour drive from Rome (and only 50min from Siena). Once you'll sit on that little piazza, with a cone in your hand and with no tourists around (they are all jamming it at the ice-cream shop near the Spanish steps) you'll feel like singing along too. And apart from the gelateria, the bar next door is just everything an Italian bar should be like. Great selection of panninis (fresh Italian Sandwiches), fab Cappuccinos and the whole town coming in at Aperitivo time.
Ps. For the ones between you who still wonder about the difference between Sweden and Switzerland - don't worry; I'm still trying to name the 50 U.S. states. So far I've got to 11.