Perche no! - Refreshing and Exquisite Hand-Made
Italian Gelato Since 1939
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! Summer is the season for a frosty, smooth, delicious, gelato (Italian ice cream) and one of the best gelaterie in the center of Florence is Gelateria Perche no! (Italian for "Why not!").
For over sixty-eight years, Perche no! has been providing Florentines and tourists with wonderfully fresh gelato flavors. The history of the gelateria begins in 1939, when Ugo Ravaioli purchased a chestnut and polenta shop from a Swiss vendor. Ravaioli saw the potential for this wonderful location, halfway between Piazza del Duomo and Piazza della Signoria, in the very heart of Florence. He turned the food shop into the gelateria we know today.
Perche no! has witnessed some difficult moments in Florentine history. During World War II, when fresh fruit, sugar, milk and eggs were in short supply, Ravaioli and his wife created spumoni from whipped egg whites and a cream made from apples. It was not exactly gelato, but it provided a sweet treat during tough times. In November 1966, Florence was devastated by one of the worst floods. When the waters receded, the center of Florence was buried under mud and heating oil for weeks, but Perche no! bounced back.
The photos to the left capture views of Gelateria Perche no!, including enthusiastic gelato servers Sergio and Martina.
Today, the interior of the store is a combination of warm, honey-toned onyx stone and earth-toned mosaic tiles. A Florentine mosaic artisan, Giovanni Fiaschi, created a one of a kind clock using pieces of this onyx. The clock is on the wall behind the counter and remains a distinctive symbol of the shop. In the rear of the store, there is a small bookshelf with travel guides and a bulletin board with local events and news that can be consulted by customers.
In 1991, two Florentine friends and ex-musicians from the popular 1970s Florentine folk rock band "I Califfi" decided to take over the shop. Now, Ciro and his wife Paola are the owners and their daughters Valentina and Cecilia work with them. When I visited the shop in the early evening, Martina and Sergio were behind the counter assisting customers.
Perche no! focuses its efforts on hand-made gelato that incorporates some modern equipment, but maintains the quality and genuine ingredients that have been a staple in the tradition of Italian gelato. All of the gelato is made on the premises fresh each day. In fact, Paola explained that the flavors change daily, especially during the spring and summer when different fruits are in season. Some of their signature flavors include: Fior di Latte con Miele and Sesamo (a light milk gelato with honey and sesame seeds), Pistachio (made from natural Sicilian pistachios), and a rich Coffee Crunch with bits of candied chocolate.
Paola also creates a wide assortment of sorbets in seasonal fruit flavors, wonderful granites (a semi-frozen fruit slurry), and gelato from soy milk and rice milk, which are lactose free. All of the ingredients are 100 percent natural - no food coloring or artificial flavors are used in any of their products.
So, come out of the heat of a Florentine afternoon and visit Perche no! It is the perfect excuse for a gelato!
Perche no! is located at Via dei Tavolini 19R, Firenze. Tel: +39 055 2398969. Click here for more information.