San Gimignano is a Pilgrimage Destination for Gelato-lovers:
When you visit Piazza della Cisterna in San Gimignano, an interesting phenomenon you will observe is the number of people eating gelato. Enjoying a gelato or two is one of the pleasurable pastimes when visiting Italy, and there’s nothing unusual about visitors eating gelato, especially on a hot summer’s day. But in San Gimignano, it almost seems like gelato-mania has taken hold of this town,
with continuous queues of people lining up to get their share of gelato. This is hardly surprising since, not only is this small medieval Tuscan town famous for its gelato, the gelaterias in San Gimignano have won awards for the best ice-creams in the world.
Piazza della Cisterna
Piazza della Cisterna is San Gimignano’s most beautiful piazza and in this square there are many historical attractions. Competing with these ancient attractions are the gelatarias in the square and it is not uncommon to see huge queues outside the gelato shops. From the line outside Dondoli Gelateria di Piazza, it is obvious that this gelateria’s reputation has spread far and wide.
Dondoli Gelataria di Piazza
Sergio Dondoli is a superstar in the world of gelato and on the walls of the Dondoli gelateria are pictures of the rich and famous who have made the trip to San Gimignano to eat his gelato. Film buffs may be interested to know that during the filming of Tea with Mussolini in San Gimignano, Sergio Dondoli kept the stars and film crew happy with his gelato, served from a cart from the film’s era.
The maestro gelato-maker continually experiments with flavours and at this gelateria you’ll get a chance to taste some really unusual creations such as the mind-boggling gorgonzola and walnuts, cream with saffron and pine nuts or pink grapefruit and sparkling wine.
Groups of tourists would arrive in waves and so I joined the queue when it was a little less busy. Still, when I got to the ice-cream counter, there wasn’t room to move around to check out the range of flavours that are available. When you get the attention of one of the servers you’ve got to be quick with your order or else they’ll move on to the next person. I quickly selected a few of our favourite flavours like mango e limone and pistacchio e fragola, leaving the more exotic flavours for future visits.
I’ve had gelato in places like Sintra in Portugal, Rome and Venice where the gelato proprietors all claimed that their gelato is the best in the world. I’m certainly no gelato expert, but I have to say that Dondoli’s is pretty good. We had the opportunity to come back to San Gimignano again a few weeks later and after a second round of gelato-eating, I was quite sure that Dondoli’s gelato is up there with the best. Even the pooch loves gelato in this town.
If you’re making a quick visit to San Gimignano, forget about fine-dining – gelato is what you must try in San Gimignano.
If you think you’ve found the best gelato in the world, you can share your secret here.
Piazza della Cisterna