Before Florence, we lived in Brooklyn's Williamsburg neighborhood which - before becoming hipster heaven - was a full on Italian American enclave hailing primarily from Naples and Sicily. One of our favorite old-school spots there was the Fortunato Brothers bakery, which we thought had the best cannoli in the world. That was until we moved to Italy and tasted what a real Italian cannoli should taste like. And oh my lord they are so so good!
If you're in Florence and can't make it down to Palermo for the real thing, then we suggest (require, actually) to check out Gaetano Pasticceria, a staple of Sicilian pastries since its founding more than 40 years ago.
Not in the most glamorous of neighborhoods (Novoli), Gaetano is best known for having the most mouth-watering cannolis outside of Sicily. The crust is perfectly crispy and dark, and the ricotta filling is unbelievably creamy and sinfully sweet. It makes our mouth water just writing about it. The spot is the perfect place for a quick merenda (afternoon snack), or to grab pastries to impress guests at a dinner party.
We wish we could write up a review of other items produced by this charming bakery, but the truth is that we can't get ourselves from ordering anything other than the cannolis.