Besides being the birthplace of the Renaissance, Florence supposedly has the best gelato anywhere. There are ice cream shops on every corner, and some of it is pretty amazing. (Though the chocolate gelato I had in Venice was still the best, and, for any gelato afficionados out there, I wasn’t any more impressed with the gelateria Grom than I was with random, neighborhood places.)

Anyway, with ice cream being so ubiquitous, it naturally follows that people are constantly eating it, which in turn caused one of the more salient images of our trip:

One night, as we were crossing the bridge on our way back to our room, we passed a young American family. There are a lot of American families in Florence, but this one caught our eye (or rather, our ear) because a little, three year old girl was sobbing and surrounded by her younger brother and parents. As we got closer we saw that she was holding an empty ice cream cone, while the scoop that had previously been perched atop it was now on the ground, slowly melting into the Arno river.

Just as we passed the family, we heard the girl lament, with all the woe she was capable of, “now I have no more ice cream.”

Everyone in the immediate area heard the girl. Of course, many probably didn’t speak English, but I’m sure they all understood because in half a dozen languages we heard people commenting on the tragedy of sheer chance robbing someone of life’s small pleasures.


Written by Jim Dalrymple II

Urbanism and travel writer. Also a journalist covering the news.

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