As the weather begins to warm up and the torrential rains that have plagued Romans all spring seem to be abating (fingers crossed!), people are once again turning their eyes and stomachs to gelato. The perfect snack for a warm afternoon (or anytime really), it is a staple Italian sweet for tourists and locals alike. Though many stores offer gravity-defying piles of fluorescent gelato, the true Italian gelato is tucked away in humble displays with colors found in nature. Here is a list of gelaterias around Rome with charm and flavors that truly satisfy. Each shop utilizes high-quality ingredients exhaustively sourced that produce addictive results. Add a scoop of panna (whipped cream) on top to take gelato to a decadent high.
Fatamorgana – With stores located throughout Rome, Fatamorgana focuses on fresh flavors without preservatives or artificial additives. The flavors are created by owner Maria Agnese Spagnuolo and go beyond the run-of-the-mill gelateria offerings. For those looking for salty-sweet, try their peanut flavor or the funkier pear and gorgonzola. A lighter alternative as the summer heat approaches is ananas e zenzero (pineapple and ginger), a name misleadingly close to bananas and a taste that’s floral with a zing. The shop is friendly to those searching for gluten-free options.
Fior di Luna – In this time of a highly commercialized gelato industry, Fior di Luna maintains a truly artisanal approach perfected by the Pasquarella brothers, believing that creating gelato is a craft. The Trastevere shop offers top-notch hyper-seasonal fruit flavors such as their unforgettable fragola (strawberry), as well as a fruity and rich chocolate with fig sauce flavor that will have visitors going back for seconds. In addition to fruit flavors, the gelateria boasts dairy gelato flavors made with donkey’s milk, a surprisingly low-fat dairy option with the creaminess of cow’s milk.
Il Gelato – Located just across the river from Trastevere lies a Testaccio outpost of Claudio Torcé’s gelateria. Claiming over 100 flavors to his name, Torcé has been a major force in returning gelato to an artisanal, quality product in Rome. The gelateria boasts a variety a flavors ranging from classic to creative, including green tea, cioccolato picante (spicy chocolate) and halva. This is surely the place to venture out of your gelato comfort zone. Though it sounds funky, visitors should at least try a spoonful of celery flavored gelato for bragging rights (and a pleasant surprise).
Gelateria del Teatro – has two convenient locations in the center of Rome. The shops offer pastry-inspired gelato creations and flavor pairings that please every palate (think “vecchia roma” (ricotta cheese and cherries with pie crust crumble) or garden sage and raspberry). Chocoholics should be sure to taste puro, a pure dark chocolate gelato and every bit as delicious, chocolate and red wine. Try the refreshing ricotta fico e mandrel (ricotta cheese, almond and fig) which has the light tang of cheese melded with sweet figs and a crunch. For the fruit-inclined they offer flavors from classic strawberry to pear and caramel. Take a peak in the window of their shop on Via di San Simone to see gelato-makers at work.
Gelateria Vice – Vice has gelaterias sprinkled throughout the city. Don’t be afraid to stick with the classic nut flavors like delightful pistachio from Bronte or almond from Noto. Take special care to try their vanilla gelato made with Madagascar vanilla, an uncommon flavor in Italy. In the summer Vice makes an outstanding granita di caffe with their coffee-blend.
For more information on our Gelato Tour of Rome or gelato making lessons contact us at email@example.com
*Words by GT Food & Travel Intern Annie Epstein