The Cagli Project
About the Project Authors Subjects Cagli Partners Faculty Contact
La Gelateria Dolcifollie

Walking past the piazza, children counted down from 10 in Italian and tossed their neon-colored bookbags in the air, celebrating the last day of school.

Several raced ahead to Cagli’s only gelateria, owned by Signora Bianca Baldelli, joining the throng of grubby faces and high- pitched voices demanding gelato.

A frazzled mother offered to buy several coni of gelato for her children and their friends, and then prompted them to decide on the two or three flavors. With cones starting at € 1.5, a customer can order up to three flavors, choosing a coppetta or a cono and optional whipped cream, panna.


Gelato cones
Photo by Claire Hoffman


Every day, Baldelli prepares the gelato from scratch, making a base that can be used for any flavor from milk, sugar, eggs, and cream. With so many flavors to offer, it is essential that she come in early.

“Despite the early hours,” she said, “gelato is not hard to make.“

Originally made with snow from nearby mountains and stored in a cold place--usually a basement, gelato is essentially Italian for ice cream. Due to the stringent measures to keep the snow from melting, gelato was considered to be a dessert only enjoyed by the wealthy. These days anyone in Italy and some lucky folks back in the United States have access to gelato, but this has not always the case.

In Cagli, you will be hard-pressed to find unsavory gelato. There are three places in Cagll that offer gelato, all located within less that a five-minute walk from one another. However, only one shop, the gelateria, specializes in gelato-making.

In the gelateria, about 25 flavors fill metal tubs underneath the large glass display case in the brightly colored shop. Often on this display case, finger smudges remain from eager children who drool as the gelato is scooped from them. Minutes later, they are content.

Two boys walk away from the Gelateria Dolcefollie, licking and slurping three flavors at once, one mumbling, “Che bella!” This is beautiful, in Italian.


More gelato in every flavor you can imagine
Photo by Claire Hoffman

One flavor, Puffo, stands out from among the rest of the muted gelato colors. Puffo, and Italian name for a Smurf, is a bright aquamarine blue with rainbow sprinkles scattered on top. It is targeted towards younger children.

Standing in front of the glass gelato case, with her arms at her sides, Baldelli remarked, “If [the gelato] is good, then people like it.”

Many people have heard and/or tried this delectable treat.

You don’t need to speak or understand Italian to say “gelato” and someone will point you in the right direction. In Italy, locating this icy cold, creamy treat is easy.

Just say the magic word.



Story by Meredith Hope


Photos by Claire Hoffman


Video by Brady Fitzgerald


Web Design by Megan Franich




Some gelato flavors...
Photo by Claire Hoffman


There are two types of gelato, differentiated by the region where it is made. Gelato, made in northern Italy near the Dolomites, contains more milk, whereas gelato made near Sicily, has more water. The Sicilian version resembles what Americans call sorbet.


Gelato, made correctly, must be concocted fresh daily. Milk, cream, sugar and eggs are used to make the initial base. Other ingredients, such as fruit, nuts and chocolate are added for the chosen flavor.

Bianca Baldelli, a petite woman with short little brown hair and a kind smile, hurried to hear each order and scoop it, before her young customers changed their minds.

"This business requires a lot of patience," she quietly explained as she stood behind the cash register, doling out change and receipts.

Baldelli arrives at Gelateria Dolcifollie, nestled in the small town in the mountains of Italy's Le Marche region, around 6:00 a.m., while many Cagliese are still sleeping.

“It is better to arrive early so that the gelato can be made fresh,” she said.



Bianca Baldelli scooping fresh gelato
Photo by Claire Hoffman


It’s ironic that a dessert that can be consumed so quickly takes quite a bit of time to make, but Baldelli enjoys her work.

“I’m happy when people are happy getting ice cream,” she said.

“When customers order their gelato, the flavor they are more likely to order is chocolate,” Baldelli said.

Many of the same flavors offered at the Cagli gelateria can be found. You are certain to find fragola (strawberry), chocolate, nocciola (hazelnut), crema (vanilla), and limone. Depending on the demand, others flavors are also offered.

Local Cagliese children enjoying gelato
Photo by Claire Hoffman
Click here to view more gelato!