A complete travel experience includes visiting a country’s iconic places, discovering its culture and tasting its cuisine. Italy, apart from its museums, churches and monuments, is known for its coffee and desserts. The creamy cannoli, the energetic espresso, the refreshing gelato, the popular cappuccino, the colorful macaron, the authentic tiramisu. You can taste all these and many more delicious options while taking a break at Don Nino Gelateria & Pasticceria Artigianale.
The Flavors of Italy, Always in Reach
Exploring Italy’s historic cities, although gratifying, can overwhelm even the most experienced globetrotters. Don Nino, for the convenience of visitors to Italy, has several locations distributed around Rome and Florence, some of them located a short distance from the main tourist spots in those cities.
Imagine making a wish at the Trevi Fountain or channeling your inner Dan Brown in the Duomo di Firenze, then walking a few steps to a picturesque café with a bicycle parked at its entrance. You sit down for a rest when the aroma of freshly brewed coffee and freshly baked pastry overtakes you. You surrender to the smells and comforting home kitchen decor. You decide to order any of the options in the counter or the menu. You close your eyes, open your mouth and fall in love with Italy even more.
Don Nino, a Gelato Family Tradition
What today represents a successful chain of artisanal cafés began as a family business, one whose values endure today. In 1969, Francesco Mastroianni opened an artisan ice cream shop, which had his relatives as employees. Francesco taught everything he knew to his son Giovanni “Nino” Mastroianni, who inherited the family business and in turn raised two more Master Gelato Makers: Giuseppe and Francesco.
Don Nino’s business has grown in the hands of the Mastroianni children. However, their success is based less on marketing strategies and more on preserving the values of quality and service instilled by their grandfather and father.
Francesco the Master
Francesco Mastroianni, in addition to being a decorated Master Gelato Maker, takes pride in choosing the best quality local ingredients, such as Bronte pistachios and hand roasted Langhe hazelnuts. This dedication to perfection from the start has helped Francesco create unique combinations of gelato such as Fichi della Piana (Figs from Piana) and Cuor di Brontolo (Heart of Brontolo).
His experience and talent have earned Mastroianni the World Cup of Gelato; first place at international gelato fair SIGEP 2001; first place in the Italian branch of the 2014 Gelato World Tour Challenge; the title of World Gelato Ambassador; and two crowns in the Gelato Festival World Ranking, among other accolades.
Don Nino has also received praise on its own. The chain took top prize in the gelato and chocolate categories in the Foodservice Award Italy 2019. It also received in 2018 the Top Choice recognition among Italian retailers by Lianorg, a prestigious tourist information site for Asian travelers.
Why You Never Leave the Cannoli
Gelato is not all that Don Nino has to offer. As Clemenza orders in one of the famous scenes from The Godfather: “Leave the gun, take the cannoli.” How can incriminating evidence be less important than a pastry? Surely those who wonder have never tried an authentic Italian cannoli.
The cannoli is a sheet of crunchy dough, wrapped and filled with ricotta cream cheese. In Don Nino you can order it with pistachio and hazelnuts or dark chocolate. Both are prepared according to Sicilian traditions. It is one of Don Nino’s best-known options, so much so that Lianorg gave it special mention in its review.
Sample as Much as you Wish
In Don Nino variety reigns. Macarons in particular are a delicious dessert example. Similar in appearance to the Argentine alfajor, the macaron consists of two layers of hardened meringue, held together with ganache filling and any jam you wish. Don Nino tempts you with a macaron rainbow as striking as its variety of artisanal gelato flavors.
Sometimes, coffee is all you need to improve your day. All coffee drinks at Don Nino stand out for their three varied mixtures of Arabica and Robusto beans. Choose between Forte, Gentile or Biscotto Tostado mixes to get your preferred dose of stimulating flavor. If you have an adventurous palate you can order Caffè Don Ninetto, an espresso with pistachio cream, fresh whipped cream and chopped pistachios.
Don Nino’s Culinary Craft
Don Nino is clearly a great option to live the authentic Italian gelato, coffee and desserts. Their practical amount of locations makes it easy to find one wherever you may be in Florence or Rome. You can spend an entire afternoon in any of them just witnessing the meticulous process of making their chocolate and pistachio covered gelato cones.
What differentiates Don Nino, and makes its locations must-sees, is the dedication of its founding family. From their choice of suppliers and employees to the selection and processing of their ingredients, the Mastroiannis do not skimp to obtain that perfect combination of tradition and innovation that sets them and Don Nino apart.
Now, Some Tips
Take It with You
Rome and Florence are cities suitable for exploration. If you don’t have time to enjoy Don Nino’s delights and beverages, ask for takeout and enjoy them on the go.
Share (Your Photos)
Don Nino loves pictures. Share your Don Nino orders on social media tagging @don_nino_italia (Instagram) or @donninoitalia (Facebook) and using the hashtags #DonNino and #DonniniAmo. Can’t decide what to order? The pics from other Don Nino customers will help you choose.
Fits All Taste Buds
Don Nino’s culinary artisans know that not everyone enjoys the same amount of dessert. Some want plenty of sugar, while others not so much. That’s why Don Nino offers small servings in many of its dessert options like cheesecake.
Dessert Isn’t Everything
Don Nino is not only coffee and desserts. If you want, you can accompany your cappuccino with hot options such as toasted panini, fresh salad and even gourmet pizza.
Price Versus Value
Full disclosure: For tourists on a limited budget, Don Nino is not the cheapest option for gelato or dessert in the cities where you can find them. Despite this, we assure that its quality and flavors are worth every penny.
Where to Find It
Piazza di Spagna 65, 00187 Roma
Via della Stamperia, 83, 00187 Roma
Via delle Muratte 33-34, 00187 Roma
Piazza Fiume 77, 00198 Roma
Viale Eritrea 109, 00199 Roma
Piazza del Duomo 10, 50122 Florencia
Galleria Commerciale Santa Maria Novella, 50123 Florencia
Centro Comercial I Gigli, 50013 Campi Bisenzio, Florencia
+39 06 679 7497