Eat, Pray Love and eating gelati in Italy

Is it possible to walk out of Eat, Pray, Love without craving a gelati? The movie opened last week in the UK and is set to be the foodie movie of the year, taking the mantle from last year’s Julie and Julia. The story follows Elizabeth Gilbert in her travels to Italy to eat, to India to pray and finally to Bali where she happens to fall in love. The eminently watchable Julia Roberts transforms the narcisstic and sometimes annoying central character of Eat, Pray, Love the novel into someone who it is at least possible to have some degree of sympathy for.

Julia does gelati (picture courtesy of Sony)
Sure the plot is light and fluffy but the scenery is stunning and if you can see Javier Bardem as anyone other than the serial killer in No Country for Old Men, the movie is quite entertaining. However, it is the food which is the star of the show in the Italian part of Elizabeth’s journey and I defy anyone to watch the lingering close ups of spaghetti twirling or gelati licking without fighting the urge to hop straight on a plane to Italy. This made watching a preview of Eat, Pray, Love thanks to Sony along with fellow bloggers American in London, Maison Cupcake and Cook Sister the perfect precursor to my holiday to Italy last week.
Gelati from Colletti gelatari – hand modelling by MTV boyfriend
Inspired by the movie (well really who needs inspiration) our trip was a bit of a gelati eating frenzy. So that all my research does not go to waste here is a list of my top three gelati shops from our travels in Umbria and Bologna.
A prince among gelati shops. The gelati here is the best I have ever eaten. Gianni has a huge array of flavours with at least 40 on display at any time in the shop. My favourite was the Il Signore Degli Anelli which combined cream, milk niocciolatte (a Lindt chocolate flavour) and a mystery ingredient entitled “Happy Hippo”. Italians if you can tell me what Happy Hippo is do please let me know! It had a rich buttery flavour with an almost caramel creaminess. I also loved the Delizia della Nona an incredibly rich and creamy confection of white chocolate and nutella. The queues out the door tell you all you need to know about this amazing store.
Details: Via Montegrappa, 11 Bologna, Italy (Ph 051 233 008)
Damage: €2.50 for a small cone or cup with two flavours
Gelati inside the shop at Gelataria Gianni
This shop has a cult following among foodies because of its use of organic ingredients and using top quality ingredients from small producers. Besides gelati the store also sells lots of jars of jams and other goodies that all looked delicious. Gelatauro offered plenty of unusual flavours including some with approval from the slow food society, think pumpkin, mascarpone or apple and cinnamon. Smooth and perfectly textured the rich, organic egg yolks really shine through in this gelati. I loved the ultra rich and luxurious Brownice flavour which was made from chocolate, wholenuts and hazlenuts. Think of it as a chocolate brownie in gelati flavour. Special mention should also be made of the pistachio flavours which didn’t have that strange luminscent colour and actually looked like pistachios were used. The Regno Delle due Sicile was an inspired combination of pistachio and almonds with sponge cake for a nutty but fluffy flavour hit. For more details on the store David Lebovitz has written a great review of his visit to the shop and kitchen.
Details: Via San Vitale 98, Bologna, Italy (Ph 051 230 049)
Damage: €2.50 for a small cone or cup with two flavours
Gelatauro gelati
3. Colletti gelatari
A simple gelati store in the small town of Umbertide the shop stocks fruit based flavours along with a few traditional favourites. MTV boyfriend liked the strachiatelli (his standard gelati order) although I found my chocolate was a little icy and lacked the smoothness of the superior Bolognese gelati.
Details: Via Bremizia 3, Umbertide, Italy (Ph 075 9413 540)
Damage: €2 for a small cone
Eat, Pray, Love – Italian style
In the movie, Elizabeth visits the San Crispino gelati shop in Rome, but I think these options are just as good, if not better than the official Eat, Pray Love gelati.
If you liked reading this you might be interested in my review of as close as you can get to Italian style gelati in London at Dri Dri Gelato or more about travels in Italy in the Cinque Terra region.


  1. I’m thinking that it would be a great idea to serve gelato instead of the usual choc tops during the movie!

  2. I’m dying to see this movie! Such a perfect chick flick for a tueday night:)

  3. I saw the movie on the weekend – I left craving that spaghetti pomodoro, although your blog post now has me craving gelati. Thanks for that… How beautiful is Bologna? I absolutely loved it – all those gorgeous, food lined streets.

  4. Oh gelati is so yummy! I wasn’t sure about seeing this film, but now I definitely want to go, if only for the food shots!!

  5. Tell MTV Boyfriend that his hand modelling skills are superb!

    Also, re: your description of the best gelati *ever* in Bologna? That’s seriously praise given how much gelati you’ve had in your lifetime. I’ll be sure to check that one out.

  6. Happy Hippo is a Kinder product – wafer outside and cream on the middle. Best bit is the heat stamped eyebrows. Really popular in Italy but I have seen them in the UK

    “Il Signore Degli Anelli” brilliant! It translates as Lord of the Rings!

    Great list of Gelaterias. I’ve still yet to mak it to Bologna but these will be a must when I do!

  7. Well spotted the ice cream shop in Umbertide! We had a similar tour in Perugia, the capital of Umbria, trying to find the best ice-cream of the centre. We had lot of fun and tasting! It’s here:

  8. Mmmmm, gelati…. so jealous! 🙂 I would love some proper gelati right now…

  9. Great hand model & fabulous gelati to boot. Haven’t seen the movie yet, but can’t wait because I loved the book & have heard awesome things about the food in Italy part of the movie. Loved the post, I’ll be back 🙂

  10. How fabulous – I am partial to straciatella – yummy! I have not seen the movie yet but since I have a blog based on the movie “Julie & Julia” I should probably see this as well. Thanks for sharing and Cheers to your fabulous trip!

  11. i SO need to watch this. I need to drool over gelato and James Franco.

  12. My favourite memories of Rome are of a lovely little gelati place near the Trevi Fountain, where all the flavours were different shades of brown b/c no colours or preservatives were used. Your post reminded me of that gelati from 10 years ago!

  13. Lorraine – I like your thinking – is it out in Australia yet?

    Emily – I agree – very much a chick flick

    GD- I also had pomodoro cravings and yes I LOVED Bologna

    Skirmishofwit – Its no Oscar movie but it is entertaining

    American in London – A big call I know but the gelati really was amazing

    Graphic foodie – Thanks so much – the Happy Hippo puzzle is solved!

    Umbria lovers – I visited Perugia as well but was too full from a big lunch to attempt any gelati – what a shame!

    Anita – proper gelati is a beautiful thing

    Anna – the hand model is very talented!

    Stephanie – yes I think you would like it

    Catty – yes very watchable indeed

    Lex Eat – sounds great – can you remember the name?

  14. I agree with you about San Crispino in Rome – it didn’t overwhelm me (but that is only as against the best Italian gelati generally – compared to English stuff it rules).

    You are making me quite homesick for a country I have never lived in even!

    My favourite place is in a little town outside Lucca but I think they all come with the emotional joy of being in Italy


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *