History

Inaugurated in September 2012, is a center of cultural excellence dedicated to the understanding and study of the history, culture, and technology of gelato and the expertise of the innovators who drove its evolution over the centuries.

From its origins to today, the museum features an interactive tour that highlights three principal themes regarding gelato: the evolution of gelato over time, the history of production technology, and the places and ways it is consumed. The museum’s 1000 square meters are home to 20 original machines, multimedia presentations, 10,000 historical images and documents, precious tools and accessories, and original video interviews.
The Gelato Museum is located in the Carpigiani headquarters at Anzola dell’Emilia, within an industrial space which has been transformed into an innovative structure dedicated to the study and analysis of artisan gelato’s history.

12.000 BC TO 13TH CENTURY AD
FROM SNOW WELLS TO SORBET
In Mesopotamia, dispatch runners traveled one hundred kilometers on foot to get the snow and ice necessary to cool the drinks served during the royal banquets and religious ceremonies held at Mari Palace. During endless feasts, the Romans paraded their gold and silver colj nivarum, using them to filter the snow. The Arabs developed shrb (sugar syrup) and in Palermo they grew 400 different types of flowers to flavor their sorbets.

16TH – 18TH CENTURIES
GELATO AND THE BIRTH OF A NOBLE TRADE
Caterina de’ Medici and Cosimo Ruggieri, celebrated alchemist and astrologist, took the Florentine Renaissance to Paris, and they may have brought the sorbet as well. The architect Bernardo Buontalenti is credited with the egg cream gelato, but Francesco Redi and Lorenzo Magalotti made it famous by singing its praises and describing its ingredients. Francesco Procopio Cutò, later known as François Procope des Couteaux, sold sorbets to Parisian intellectuals in his café. The Neapolitan doctor Filippo Baldini wrote that sorbet is good both for your body and your mood.

19TH – 20TH CENTURIES
ASCENT AND GLOBAL DIFFUSION OF GELATO
Customs changed over time and gelato and sorbets started to play significant roles in the menus of important luncheons and suppers. Sorbet, gelato, hard treats, and frozen creams appeared in the haute cuisine recipe books. With the invention of artificial ice, gelato moved out into the streets with the help of street vendors pushing their carts in search of new customers. It was a new era: a powerful host of Zoldan, Cadorean, and Friulian gelato artisans spread gelato throughout the world.

1900 – 1950
FROM ICE AND SALT TO NEW TECHNOLOGIES
To make it easier to eat gelato in the streets, an Italian developed the cone. The gelato shops started to take shape and to gain their autonomy. The Gelato Manual was published in Italy. Science and technology were harnessed in the service of gelato artisans, bringing innovation to gelato production. Machines from the automatic Motogelatiera to other more sophisticated post-war batch freezers were developed.

1950 – 1985
GELATIERI AND MANUFACTURERS UNITE: GELATO BECOMES THE FLAGSHIP OF MADE IN ITALY
Gelato consumption grew rapidly, to the point where industrial ice cream made its way into the Italian market. Gelato artisans risked extinction. However, the united front of artisans and suppliers and the commitment of artisans to better train themselves resulted in a marked quality improvement. Pots and stoves were removed from the production area. The pasteurizer, a new, revolutionary machine, was able to guarantee food safety. Each year new technology was developed to provide artisans with solutions that made gelato safer and easier to produce, freeing up the operator’s creativity. Gelato is removed from the tubs and placed in glass display cases. Dedicated trade shows are born and gelato became a science.

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