The idea was that European gelato shops keep their cold cases a few degrees warmer than American ice cream shops. Don't let that bother you. Keep your hands off the freezer control.
Make your gelato in an ice cream maker, and allow it to ripen just as you would any ice cream.
The difference between "gelato" and "ice cream" to the extent that their is one, is that ice cream is a very elastic term, and gelato a bit more defined.
Gelatos are typically in the mid range of amount of fat, and usually use a fair amount of egg yolk to keep the cream's texture smooth. Sometimes they don't use egg yolks but use corn starch. So, as you can see, gelatos are (often) frozen custards. However, people and language being what they are, the terms have softened to the point where gelato doesn't have much more meaning than "frozen dairy-based dessert." Do a little research and you'll find recipes for granitas labled as gelato.
Let me add a word about "density." Ice creams should contain as little air as possible. The idea that the dashers in ice cream makers, "aerate" the cream is not only false but 180* out of phase. In fact, the dashers knock air out. With any ice cream, it's good technique to have as little air as possible in the base before freezing. I sieve the base before chilling, and before freezing.
Also as with ice cream, the colder the base before going into the freezing chamber, the smoother the final cream (fewer, smaller ice crystals). So, if you're using an ice cream maker which doesn't have it's own refrigerator/freezer compressor (that is, if you put the container in the freezer to "pre-freeze," or you use ice and rock-salt), get that base as cold as possible before starting the freezing process.
Ciao for niao,