Switch Up Your Summer Scoops with Gelato

This dairy-free Italian tradition is sweet, refreshing, and available all over South County


We may all scream for ice cream, but you could say that gelato is its cooler cousin. Incredibly, gelato is denser than ice cream, yet it contains only a fraction of the fat. Europeans are fanatical about gelato, and here in the US, the gourmet dessert is a sweet homage to Italian confections.

Don’t get us wrong: South County in the summertime is ice cream central, and you should lap a cone to your taste buds’ content. But gelato is a smooth alternative, and it comes in more varieties than ever – no matter what your palate or dietary restrictions. Here’s a handful of local gelaterias that we know will be open for business this summer.

This Block Island staple is known for its pastries and ice cream – as well as its 24 flavors of gelato. Its origins are pretty romantic, too: Aldo and Maria Leone immigrated directly from Italy and worked as bakers in the 1950s. They opened their own shop on Block Island in 1970, and it’s been in the family ever since. History never tasted so sweet. 

Across the bridge in Newport, Cold Fusion Gelato is the trendy new interpretation of the gelateria, where you can savor a scoop of gelato on the street or pick up a pint for later – along with many other delicacies. Cold Fusion has a fresh, urbane look to it, but they use purely traditional methods in their factory in Walpole, Massachusetts.

Right in the heart of Narragansett, Nana’s is the ultimate beachside creamery – and you can fill buckets with candy as well. Nana’s serves up regular ice cream and frozen yogurt, but the real prize is the gelato, which comes in all flavors, from Amaretto to Tiramisu. After a few sunny hours roaming Narragansett Town Beach, you’re more or less required to stop here. You can also check out Nana’s other locations, including the recently renamed Ice Cream Factory in North Kingstown.

Founded by an Argentinian Spanish professor, Pompelmo actually has two locations – the original Gelateria in Westerly proper and Pompelmo by the Sea in Watch Hill. True to her South American roots, Melanie Wolf serves only gelato, but you can request your flavor as a milkshake or root beer float.


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