Summer is here, the air is thick and cobblestones are scorching. Now, more than ever, is the perfect time for gelato. Here are my favorite gelato places, which I personally have tried again and again to make sure you would get the most out of your gelato experience in Rome.
(author’s note: get a cone, rather than a cup: you will usually get more gelato in a cone than in a cup, and it’s eco-friendly… because you eat it all!)
The Corner Gelateria is the place that everyone from JCU goes to. It’s super small but they have a good selection of both cream and fruit flavors, and its location by the Guarini campus makes it perfect when you need a quick treat while rushing over to the Tiber campus or want to stop for a sweet break during finals. If you are feeling intrepid, order a 100% Nutella and white chocolate cone. Do not let the density of the gelato scare you, and delve into eating while taking a walk across the bridge to Campo de’ Fiori, where you will find the next gelato place.
Grom is a chain; you’ll find their shops in other Italian cities as well. But do not let its not-so-local look fool you. They take pride in making their gelato daily with fresh, natural ingredients coming from the best producers in Italy and in the world. A great bittersweet combination is Extranoir Chocolate and Crema di Grom, one of their specialties, made of custard, cookies, and chocolate chunks.
Just steps from the Pantheon, Giolitti is one of the oldest, if not the oldest, in Rome. Even though it is often packed with tourists, it is still a spot locals adore because of the variety of flavors they make and of their characteristic generosity in filling up your cone/cup the brim. Try out a small cone with their artisanal panna montata (whipped cream).
Just by Giolitti, Gelateria della Palma will make you wander around the display cases uncertain about which flavors really deserve to be tried. You’ll pay a lot for just few spoons of gelato, and their gelato is not the best around. Yet, they make more than 150 different flavors, and their fluffy mousses are close to perfection – check them out; you can thank me later.
Maria Agnese, Fata Morgana’s gelato maker, aims to create a healthy gelato; her philosophy is that gelato should not be seen as a special treat to get once in a while, but as part of a balanced diet. She makes the most extravagant gelato flavors, mixing ingredients you’d never imagine would go well together. At Fata Morgana, I often make an exception to my “cone-only” rule and choose a three-flavor bioplastic cup, which is an eco-friendly cup made of corn starch. Some of my favorite flavors include fennel, honey, and licorice, tobacco chocolate, and basil, walnuts, and honey.
Gelateria dei Gracchi will take you outside Trastevere – the closest branch is in Prati – but it might very well be my favorite of all. Their gelato is indeed expensive, but I promise it’ll make you wonder if you have just died and ended up in heaven. Try out the delicious dried figs and roasted almonds or the extra-light apple and cinnamon, and then go back to taste zibibbo (a sweet kind of grapes whose taste resembles that of raisins), and pine nuts cream.
Last but not least, it you are on a budget, try out Bar San Calisto’s gelato. They only have a bunch of traditional flavors, but a two-flavors cone with panna, only costs 1 euro… And the atmosphere is very “Trasteverina”: you’ll be surrounded by loud, friendly Italians having their drinks and snacks overlooking Piazza di San Calisto teeming with all kinds of people.
For tips on how to get, eat, and enjoy gelato the Italian way, click here.
… Bon appétit!