Rome Gelato Tour

March 12, 2012

We decided that we must end our last evening in Rome on a rather memorable note. So, instead of going to a restaurant for dinner, we dedicated two hours to a little gelato trail of our own.

There are two things that you need to know before buying gelato in Rome (or for that matter, Italy). One: Learning up your favourite ice cream flavours in Italian is useful because most places will tag the gelato in Italian (cannella=cinnamon, pere=pear, etc.) If you’re lucky, the gelateria might even have a little picture of the ingredient on the tag. And two, you need to decide if you want to eat in a cup or cone: the different cup sizes are pasted on the wall with a price written on it, so you can simply ask for “€2! or “€3!” cups. Cups are better, because the cones in most places is pretty bad. Even if you chance upon a good cone, you really don’t want the flavour of the cone to linger in your mouth instead of the luscious gelato. Generally, the small cup priced at €1.5-€2 accommodates two flavours, and then bigger the cup you buy, the more flavours you can add in.

Rome Gelato Trail

Della Palma
Via della Maddalena, 19/23, Rome
Probably one of the most crowded gelateria I’ve been to, Della Palma boasts of serving over 100 flavours of gelato (touristy-place alert!). Picking what to eat was the hardest, so we just ended up trying 9 flavours here alone, plus a milkshake. Their black passion (chocolate and raspberry) was my favourite. You’ll eat better gelato in Rome, but Della Palma wins the prize for providing the best visual treat.

Giolatti
Via Uffici del Vicario, 40, Rome
Giolitti is the most famous gelato shop in Rome and the best part: it is open till 1am! Not having read great things about their fruity flavours, we stuck to chocolate. Chocolate truffle gelato + gianduja gelato topped with a billow of whipped cream hit the spot.

Cremeria Monteforte
Via della Rotonda, 22, Rome
Exceptionally fresh tasting gelato here. Whatever you pick at Cremeria Monteforte, you have got to try their pistachio gelato.

Fior di Luna
Via della Lungaretta, 96, Rome
Fior di Luna boasts of using all natural ingredients in their gelato. Buy a gelato and walk down to Piazza Santa Maria to enjoy it by the fountain. Of course, I got myself a cup of hazelnut (nocciola) + pinenut (pinoli).

San Crispino
Via della Panetteria, 42, Rome
We ended our gelato walk at San Crispino, with the intention of saving the best for the last. We walked into the small shop near the Trevi fountain to be greeted by lidded stell buckets of gelato amidst vanilla cream interiors. I got their famous hazelnut meringue gelato. Crunchy bits of sweet meringue in hazelnut gelato is just genius. Beyond delicious.

Note: If you’re visiting Rome in summer, be sure to make a stop at Tazza D’Oro for their espresso granita topped with whipped cream.

Here is a nifty map to plan the gelato walk. The first three places on the list (four if you include Tazza D’Oro) are right by the Pantheon, so you can club those up together.

Some favourite flavours I discovered on this trip: pear and ricotta, cinnamon and rice, gianduja, Bachio (a popular hazelnut chocolate in Italy, means kiss, aptly gifted on Valentine’s Day).

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sneha March 12, 2012 at 1:49 PM

The best gelato I’ve ever had was at this place called La Bottega del Gelato in Pisa – the yumminess lingers even after 4 years! I must’ve tried more than 5 flavours!

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2 Natasha Sharma March 12, 2012 at 2:15 PM

San Crispino had my vote and undying love!

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3 Rhea Dixit March 12, 2012 at 2:32 PM

The best gelato (didn’t try anything else) was at this tiny one window shop near the vatican…there was this queue of people (at least 50 people) waiting. When we asked them what was so great, they sighed and said the best gelato in the world :-). Had pistachio and chocolate together…and strawberry…! so far nothing has compared !!

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4 Emily March 12, 2012 at 7:45 PM

I’m in Barcelona right now and I couldn’t agree more. Going to a gelateria and trying to figure out my flavors in spanish is a real treat. However, dulce de leche gelato? Tooootally did not need to know what that was to know it was awesome!

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5 The Purple Foodie March 12, 2012 at 9:54 PM

Haha. Dulce de leche is the best! I was in Barcelona last week and came back fat and happy.

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6 Maria @ Orchard Bloom March 13, 2012 at 1:11 AM

i rarely eat gelato, but now you’ve got me craving some.

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7 ileana March 13, 2012 at 2:14 AM

Sounds like a wonderful night! I ate coconut gelato every day I was in Rome. ;)

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8 Vidya March 13, 2012 at 1:22 PM

My goodness…reading all these posts has me longing to go to Italy….. now, more than ever before!
You should be featured in guides like the Lonely Planet guide and Go….they need to get your input….They have a food section and your writing is just so detailed…it’s like being held by the hand and led to the best a city has to offer.
More power to you!

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9 The Purple Foodie March 14, 2012 at 4:27 PM

Thanks, Vidya! :)

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10 Shirley March 25, 2012 at 6:29 PM

Great idea! I wish we had written down all the places we tried gelato while in Italy! i don’t know how they do it, but gelato is the best. They’ve tried introducing it here in the states, but it doesn’t even come close! Just one more good reason to go back to Italy!

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11 Maria March 30, 2012 at 9:14 PM

Rhea is right if she’s talking about Old Bridge Gelateria by the Vatican – it is indeed amongst the best gelato in Rome despite the rather anglicized name. (Speaking as the wife of a Roman who did months of exhaustive gelato runs that stretched into fuori le Mura (outside the walls of the city). Yum yum yum! The best are Zabaione, Baci, Stracciatella, Nutella, Ricotta, Amaretto and even coconut (the Mallu in me refuses to die..)

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12 Frank Greco July 3, 2012 at 5:56 PM

Imo, this is the best gelato place in Rome: http://gelateriadeigracchi.com/

Most Romans consider it the best (as told to me by a Roman master chef). Its a tiny shop about a 15-20 walk from the Piazza de Popolo (across the river). Have the pistachio and be prepared to be blown away.

Della Palma is touristy… so-so gelato… maybe a B+. Fun place to visit, especially if you just finished a visit to the Pantheon, but no comparison to Gracchi.

Btw, stay far away from junk gelato from a chain called “Blue Ice”.

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13 The Purple Foodie July 3, 2012 at 6:59 PM

I wish I knew that when I went to Italy! I will have to make another trip now (not that I’m complaining) I saw Blue Ice everywhere and wondered why people would want to go there when they have so many other options! Agree about Della Palma.

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14 Antonio July 19, 2012 at 7:39 PM

Agree with your selection. And everything is true about gelateria digrachi. However the hazelnut and gianduja cone from il Caruso has to be the tastiest thing I’ve tried in my life. A must next time you’re in Rome. Cheers

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