The Gelato Museum will showcase the first written recipe, 10,000 photographs and documents and around 20 old gelato-making machines, including primitive, hand-operated churns made out of wood and iron.
The Arab invaders of Spain and Sicily vie with the ancient Romans for the honour of being the inventors of sorbets and ice creams, but no one really knows where or when the tradition first started.
The tradition of gathering snow and ice from mountaintops and using it to make sorbets and sherbets began 1,200 years before Christ, said Luciana Polliotti, a gelato historian and the curator of the new museum.
The first written recipe for what we would now recognise as gelato, involving the blending and freezing of eggs and cream, dates from 17th century Florence.
It was so expensive – largely because of the cost of ice – that it was only aristocratic families like the Medicis who could afford to indulge.
The appeal of gelato was then spread around the world by the waves of Italians who emigrated across the world in the 19th century.
The £1 million museum will open in Anzola Emilia outside Bologna in September but advance bookings for free organised tours can be made from this weekend.
It has been built by Carpigiani, an Italian firm that makes the lion’s share of the world’s gelato machines.
See on www.telegraph.co.uk
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