I have travelled to Milan several times over the years, but I was never able to focus 100% on my quest for the best gelato in town, simply because my visits were mainly focused on work! Each of my visits to Milan gave me a glimpse of a different area of Milan, of different monuments, food, restaurants, bars or shoppings areas.
Places you should visit in Milan
Non gelato places first today. 😉 Scroll down to the “Gelato recommendations” part if you can’t wait!
#1 Must-see places: Milan cathedral & Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
It would be a pity travelling all the way to Milan without seeing these central landmarks! Go there with the underground: get down at “Duomo” and you will immediately see this mighty cathedral! Construction began in 1386 and took as long as six centuries to complete. Today, it’s the largest church in Italy and the third or fourth largest in the world, after St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City and the Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida in Brazil.
Once you are done contemplating the beautiful Duomo, turn 45° to your left: that magnificent passageway is Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, another famous landmark in Milan. Italy’s oldest shopping mall now mostly houses luxury shops (Prada, Versace, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, …). Entrance to the gallery is free and doesn’t require any purchase in these shops! 🙂 Go in, enjoy the 19th century iron-and-glass architecture and the nice shop window displays!
#2 An area not to miss: Naviglio
It’s a pleasant 25 minute walk from Milan cathedral along Corso di Porta Ticinese to Porta Ticinese: there are some nice shops, cafés and monuments (Columns of San Lorenzo Roman ruins, Basilica of San Lorenzo Maggiore, Basilica of Sant’Eustorgio) along the way. If walking turns out too tiring, no worries, tramways run on that route!
Naviglio Grande and Naviglio Pavese are two active canals that begin near Porta Ticinese. They were built in the 11th and 12th century. Naviglio Grande is 50km long, Naviglio Pavese 33km long.
The Naviglio neighbourhood is full of lovely little shops, art galleries, bars and restaurants. It’s a nice area to visit during the day, but also after dark, when more lively.
#3 Shopping in the capital of fashion
You will find all kinds of clothing stores in Milan, near the cathedral, or around Quadrilatero d’Oro (golden shopping rectangle) between Via Montenapoleone, Via della Spiga, Via Manzoni & Via Sant’Andrea. Other options include the Brera district near Moscova, and Corso Buenos Aires. I enjoyed a bit of window shopping in those areas.
#4 Perfect on a rainy day: Eataly store
The idea behind Eataly stores is to gather under one roof high-quality food, celebrate Italian biodiversity, and create a place to eat, shop and learn. Eataly has come a long way since opening their first store in Turin in 2007: they now boast at least 12 stores in Italy, as well as around 18 elsewhere in the world, in Sweden, Germany, the US, Japan, South Korea, Russia, etc.
The Eataly Smeraldo store on Piazza XXV Aprile in Milan is the only Eataly store I have ever been to: it’s a lovely multi-storey shop with restaurants on each floor, and with areas dedicated to all types of food: chocolate, pasta, olive oil, spices, cheese, ham, spices, wines, etc, as well as recipe books, kitchenware, fresh fruit and veg… You will probably get to sample a few things. I loved trying some really cool and tasty modular chocolate, some delicious grilled cheese and hams.
Eataly Milan address: Piazza XXV Aprile 10, 20121 Milan, Italy
My gelato recommendations in Milan
These are some of the gelato shops you should try in Milan. Many thanks to all the people who gave me suggestions of places to try! 🙂 It will take a few more visits to Milan to try my way through all the Milan gelateria marked in my google maps gelato list…!
#1 Gusto 17
Gusto 17 has many appealing flavours which you can’t find anywhere: blood orange sorbet with caramelized peel, white chocolate gelato with liquorice and fruits of the forest, carrot gelato with almonds and pistachio, apple and calvados sorbet…
Gusto 17 presents a new #gustodeidesideri every week, a “taste of the desires” named after the person who submitted the flavour. I love this concept! There were possibly two #gustodeidesideri when I was there:
- “Christian” – white chocolate gelato with a caramel sauce and caramelized almonds
- “Crema di Paolo Parisi” – a tasty egg-cream gelato with a subtle taste of lemon. This was one of the three flavours that I chose
I don’t remember ever trying any carrot ice cream, so when I spotted the carrot-almond pistachio gelato, it was obvious that I had to try it! 🙂
Gusto 17 was initially recommended to me via Instagram: I was told they make delicious liquorice ice cream and I would have been disappointed if there had not been any that day, so I was even happier when I saw there was liquorice with fruits of the forest gelato! It sounded like a lovely combination and it tasted great too! However I have to admit that the best flavour I tried from Gusto 17 was not one of the flavours I picked myself: the blood orange sorbet my colleague picked was SOO good! Possibly the best orange sorbet I ever tried! 🙂 It was refreshing and the sweetness level was perfect! She also tried the Piemont hazelnut gelato: although hazelnut ice cream is not my cup of tea, I have to admit that it was quite good!
To sum up, we both LOVED our gelato and were really happy we went there! It felt as if all things on that day just fell into place perfectly: we made it to Gusto 17 on a wet and windy day in March, after it seemed like our (or “my”…) gelato tasting plans might fall through. But then the sun made a short appearance, and Gusto 17 was one of the closest ice cream shops from my must-try list…! Shortly after finishing our gelato the rain was on again.
The gelato at Gusto 17 is made freshly every day, with quality raw ingredients and seasonal fruits. It is made without any artificial flavours or colours, nor with any preservatives.
#2 Gelato Giusto
I had to try one last gelato parlour on my last day in Milan! Most gelato shops from my wish list don’t open until around noon on Sundays. Gelato Giusto is a convenient 12 minute walk away from Milan central station: I picked up a cup of gelato minutes after they opened, before heading on to the train station. Look out for the shop sign with a cute cow!
Gelato Giusto promote a “flavour theme” every month, which is declined in different actual gelato flavours every week. I really like this approach! If good ice cream shops in my neighbourhood did this, I would have to go there every week! 🙂
- March flavour theme – tea
- week 1: chai tea gelato
- week 2: genmaicha tea gelato
- week 3: jasmin tea gelato
- week 4: matcha tea gelato
- June flavour theme – dried fruits
- week 1: Sorrento walnut gelato
- week 2: Sicily pistachio gelato
- week 3: pine nut gelato
- week 4: black sesame gelato
Since I was there in March, I tried the genmaicha gelato, as well as pistachio gelato. They were both very good! In case you are not familiar with genmaicha tea, it’s a Japanese brown rice green tea where green tea is combined with roasted popped brown rice! This was an interesting gelato to try!
Gelato from Gelato Giusto is made freshly every day, with seasonal ingredients and without hydrogenated fats, artificial flavours, colours or preservatives.
In case you don’t know Grom: Grom is not a small gelato shop as the ones mentioned above! Grom is part of the Unilever group and employs over 600 people worldwide. Despite this, I will mention them here because I tried my first Grom gelato in Milan six years ago and I liked it!
I can’t remember very well the flavours I tried, but I reckon I tried:
- Crema di Grom – a custard cream gelato with chocolate chips and corn biscuits
- Torroncino – gelato made with Italian almond nougat
- Crema coma una volta – a egg cream gelato flavoured with lemon rind
The concept of Grom is to prepare liquid gelato mixtures in their lab in Turin, then distribute them to all Grom gelato shops, where the ready-to-eat gelato is produced. Grom doesn’t use any artificial flavourings, colourings or emulsifiers in their gelato and sorbet. To be honest, I am not 100% sure whether they use preservatives or not: Grom French website states that they don’t.
Grom is currently celebrating 15 years since its creation, Happy 15th Birthday Grom!
Grom store addresses (in Milan): are all listed on their website. But I tried the following:
– Via Molino delle Armi 48, 20123 Milan, Italy
– Piazza Gae Aulenti 8, 20124 Milan, Italy