Where to Find the Best Gelato in Rome

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Rome's Giolitti Gelato
Getting scooped at Giolitti in Rome. Photo: Andre Luis

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:

40, Via degli Uffici del Vicario
Near the Pantheon, Rome
Web site

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.

Gelato from San Crispino, Rome

San Crispino Gelato. Photo: MMChicago

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.

San Crispino
3, Piazza della Maddalena
Near the Pantheon, Rome

42, Via della Panetteria
Near the Trevi Fountain, Rome
Web site

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.

Fata Morgana
9/11, Via Lago di Lesina
00199 Rome
Web site

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.

About the author

Nicole Arriaga

About the author: After her first trip to the Bel Paese in 1999, Nicole Arriaga knew she would one day return permanently in search of the good life. Before moving to Rome in 2003, Nicole worked as a TV producer and a writer in sunny Miami. She has written for Fodor’s, Insight Guides, The American and various other travel publications. She currently works as a freelance writer and as a programs coordinator for a study abroad organization in Rome.

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