The next time you visit Italy, you might want to plan an excursion to the northern city of Bologna: The Carpigiani Foundation plans to open a museum devoted to gelato there this September.

The Carpigiani Gelato Museum will showcase the world's first-written gelato recipe, 10,000 photographs and about 20 vintage gelato-making machines, including the first hand-operated churns made of wood and iron.

The 1000-square meter space, which came with a price tag of nearly $2 million, was built by gelato manufacturing firm Carpigiani and is located in the company's former headquarters, in Anzola Emilia just outside Bologna. Doors open September 27.

A release on the company's website gives more details:

“The objective of the Carpigiani Gelato Museum is to become a point of reference for the sector, to highlight the roots and history of this quality food and the gelato artisans that produce it, bringing excellence, creativity, and flavor to customers worldwide,” explains Romano Verardi, President of the Bruto and Poerio Carpigiani Foundation. ...

According to the architects and curators, “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 means of consuming gelato. More than 20 original machines will find a new home in the Carpigiani Gelato Museum, along with multimedia presentations, 10,000 historical images and documents, precious accessories and tools of the trade from ages past, video interviews, and workshops.”

The Telegraph spoke with the museum's curator Luciana Polliotta, who happens to be gelato historian.

The inventor of gelato is still unknown, she explains, but Arab invaders in Spain and Sicily and ancient Romans are the top contenders for that honor. The making of sorbets and sherbets, however, began at about 1200 BC with snow and ice gathered from mountaintops. It was very expensive, and as a result limited to aristocratic families like the Medicis who could afford it.

Photo by Flickr user laura padgett.

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