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By Nicole Arriaga—
In Rome there’s Gelato, and then there’s just gelato. Let me clarify: I am quite a snob when it comes to eating the heavenly dessert. Whenever friends ask me to meet them for a gelato, I have to ask, “Where?” After all, there is such a thing as a mediocre cone.
Thus, take note. Here are some of my favorite gelaterie (some famous and some off-the-beaten path) in Rome:
Walk by this gelateria on any given day and you’ll likely see a crowd standing around waiting for their scoops. The history of the Giolitti dates back to 1890 when the Giolitti family opened up a creamery to sell milk from their Roman pastures. Within a few years the family opened up their gelateria mothership on Via degli Uffici del Vicario, and soon it became “the” ice-cream parlor in Rome. The family is said to still follow the same recipes it used during World War I. Today, Giolitti is a landmark in Rome and hundreds of tourists and locals flock to the gelateria every day for gelato, granitas, coffee and pastries.
My favorite here is nocciola (hazelnut). I usually order a small cone (“cono piccolo”), which believe me, is more than enough, as it can be a meal in itself. A small cone will set you back €2.50; a little more expensive than other gelaterie, but worth every cent! You can choose up to three flavors, and they’ll even put whip cream on top.
3, Piazza della Maddalena
Near the Pantheon, Rome
42, Via della Panetteria
Near the Trevi Fountain, Rome
Ask San Crispino’s customers about what sets their gelato experiences apart from the rest and they’ll likely tell you two things: simplicity and diversity. While some of the flavors are quite different from those you’d expect, the taste and ingredients used are quite simple.
My three favorite flavors at San Crispino are il Gelato di San Crispino (made with honey from Sardegna), zenzero e cannella (ginger and cinnamon) and ricotta. My only complaint is the small portion size. A small cup, with just two flavors, costs €2.30. Unfortunately, San Crispino doesn’t do cones.
9/11, Via Lago di Lesina
Fata Morgana is by far my favorite gelateria in Rome. Although it’s a little out of the way, located in the Corso Trieste neighborhood near Villa Ada, it’s worth the trip.
Fata Morgana offers nearly 50 flavors ranging from the most common (chocolate, hazelnut, cream and pistachio) to more exotic flavors like semi di papavero (poppy seed), riso latte (rice pudding), cheesecake di mirtillo (blueberry cheesecake), cioccolato kentucky (chocolate “Kentucky,” made with aromatic coffee, liquorish and Kentucky tobacco). A small, two-flavor cone here will set you back €1.50. The waffle cones here are heavenly.