The history of gelato dates back to the 16th century. Who really invented gelato no one knows, but as most stories go, it was Bernardo Buontalenti, a native of Florence, who delighted the court of Caterina Dei Medici with his creation. But it was a Sicilian fisherman and restaurateur named Francesco Procopio Dei Coltelli, who introduced gelato to Europe.
Procopio moved from Palermo, Sicily to Paris in 1686, and opened a café that specialized in exotic coffees, chocolates, and house made gelato. The Procope, as the café was known, became hugely successful, causing Italian gelato to spread quickly throughout France and into other parts of Europe.