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As the summer heat continues to sizzle, tourists and residents alike are facing a bitter-sweet reality in Italy: the prices of their favorite frozen treat, much like many other foods, are on the rise.
And in one city – Florence – the sweet treat costs even more than average, with some complaining that the sweet treat is “more expensive than steak”.
Data released by the non-profit consumer association, Consumerismo No Profit, has highlighted that the average price of gelato in May has surged by a staggering 22 percent compared to the previous year.
However, the association has underlined that the trajectory of these price increases varies significantly across different regions of Italy.
According to Consumerismo No Profit, Florence has emerged as the city with the highest gelato prices in the country. On the contrary, Padua, Vicenza, and Siena are enjoying the lowest gelato prices.
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The driving force behind these climbing average prices, the association explains, is the uptick in the cost of raw materials.
Florence, in particular, has earned the title of having the “highest gelato price in Italy”, averaging at €7.93 per kilogram (but potentially soaring to as high as €9.66/kg). This marks a steep 34 percent increase from the previous year, when the same quantity of gelato cost €5.91.
The rising cost of gelato in Florence has left many customers with a sour taste in their mouths, as they navigate gelato shops in search of a sweet deal. One disgruntled customer’s wrote of one shop: “A gelato at the counter is more expensive than a Florentine steak”.
The Tripadvisor user describes a perplexing experience where two small gelatos were ordered, only to discover that the shop offered a single size, which was surprisingly generous. The lack of transparent pricing, along with the blaring high-volume music, made it difficult to inquire about prices or comprehend the responses from the staff.
The comment continues, revealing the shocking moment of truth at the payment counter, where €20 were demanded for the two gelatos. The frustration is palpable as the customer laments the lackluster quality of the gelato and the inattentive service that came at such a high price. The comments ends with: “What an embarrassment for us Italians when tourists come to visit!”
Other cities recording prices exceeding €7 per kilogram include Bolzano (€7.20), Ravenna (€7.09), and Milan (€7.01). On the flip side, the more economical cities, where gelato costs less than €5 per kilogram, are Padua (with an average of €4.55), Siena, and Vicenza (both at €4.68).
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In Tropea, a small town on to coast of Calabria, in southern Italy, another customer in a different gelateria voiced a similar sentiment, branding their experience as “scandalous”.
The Tripadvisor user said they were stunned by a €10 bill for a gelato that was disappointingly frozen solid. The outrage extended beyond the price, as the commenter also criticised the discourteous behaviour of the staff.
Luigi Gabriele, President of Consumerismo No Profit, explains, “The average price of gelato in Italy experienced a 22 percent increase in May compared to the same period in 2022. This surge can be attributed to the rise in the costs of raw materials—ranging from eggs and sugar to fruits—as well as the increased energy expenses, which lead to higher production costs.”
Gabriele also points out that the rise in prices is observed not only in supermarket-sold tubs of gelato and packaged products available at bars but also in cones and cups sold at gelaterias. In some cases, the increase is so significant that in the most touristy areas of Rome, a small two-flavour cone can exceed €4.
Meanwhile, Omio, Europe’s leading platform for booking train, bus, and flight travel, has unveiled a ranking of the best beaches to escape the summer heat. Their study took into account an essential factor: where tourists can find the most budget-friendly gelato.
The analysis reveals that the beach destinations offering the cheapest gelato are Alanya in Turkey, where a scoop costs 12 cents, Tirana in Albania, where it’s 90 cents, and Agadir in Morocco, where a scoop of gelato is priced at just 92 cents.
On the Italian peninsula, the top spots for affordable gelato are Ravenna (€2 per scoop), San Vito lo Capo (€2.30), Marina Piccola and Sansone (both at €2.50). However, the beaches where gelato is priciest are Rimini (€3 per scoop), Marina Grande di Positano, and Tropea (both at €3.50).
But wait, if you thought gelato in Milan was anything but budget-friendly, brace yourselves for Italy’s most expensive gelato! Located in Ruvo di Puglia, the gelato known as “Lo Scettro del Re,” produced by Gelateria Mokambo, is a true luxury food, priced at a staggering €70.
Feedback from customers reflects the divide in opinions. One commenter on TripAdvisor noted about Mokambo, “Undoubtedly good quality gelato with excellent raw materials. However, the prices are quite excessive.”
The ever-escalating gelato prices have not escaped the attention of gelato lovers in Italy, eliciting mixed reactions ranging from praise for quality to concerns about affordability.
As gelato enthusiasts continue to enjoy their favourite treat against a backdrop of rising costs, the sweet joy of the frozen delicacy remains a cherished experience amidst shifting economic landscapes.
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