Does “The last time I had a gelato in Rome, I was not impressed” sound familiar?
That’s because while Rome’s gelato is mostly good it can also be mediocre, depending on where you’re buying from. Truth is there are so many good gelaterias in Rome that finding the ones that stand out can be quite a challenge.
Steer clear of lurid colours (that shiny colour could actually be food colourant), avoid huge overflowing mounds of gelato (might be because of the thickeners) and look for places that offer seasonal flavours. Stick by these rules, and you’ve got a good chance of enjoying some marvellous icy goodness, as there is a fantastic gelateria in every part of the city.
With so many gelaterias to choose from, I thought it would be of some help to put together a list of some of the best gelato places I’ve tried in Rome. With a climate that hardly dips below freezing, you could have great gelato in Rome pretty much any day of the year, so make sure you visit at least one of these places, whenever you might be in town.
Neve di Latte
Get some gelato from this shop and thank me later!
Very close to the MAXXI museum in Rome’s Flaminio neighbourhood, Neve di Latte is kind of out of the way. Luckily for the discerning tourist, they also have a location not far from the Vatican, in the neigbourhood of Prati, so you won’t have to go on a limb to get some of the best gelato I had in Rome.
Nevertheless, this gelateria stirs a much-dedicated following of fans who come from a long distance to enjoy its deliberately curated ingredients. Outstanding flavours include vintage Armagnac, pine nuts from Pisa, liquorice or their five types of chocolate. Interestingly, this gelateria whips up two different pistachio flavours, one using nuts from Bronte in Sicily, and other with Iranian nuts; one sweet and the other one salty. What more can you want?
Their sorbets are also to die for and the interior of the location in Prati which we visited is cosy and inviting; the staff have been nothing short of amazing. Having spent over one hour just unwinding in their place, I can totally vouch for the atmosphere.
PS: in case you’re wondering, the cover photo is taken at Neve di Latte, probably one of the most stylish gelato places visited.
The taste is the difference, and the difference is in the taste!
Claudio Torcè is somewhat of a local celebrity: he’s been well known for his innovative and experimental flavours for over a decade. After all, he opened his shop in the 90s so he had some time to practice. He was probably one the first to use non-conventional ingredients such as habanero chillis (which I had to try) or gorgonzola, and his creative, all-natural method has influenced a wave of gelato-makers across Rome.
Whether it be bold ginger, classic strawberry or the professionally ground pear, port and toasted almond, Torcè kills it any day and every time. He has 3 locations across Rome but the original location on Viale dell’Aeronautica is still considered the best and probably worth the trip (take metro B to Laurentina). A new rebrand sees the gelateria switch to fructose (which has a lower glycemic index than regular sugar), lactose-free milk and gluten-free cones. The gelato remains exceptional, even if a bit on the expensive side.
Hint: A lesson I learned the hard way (turns out red peppers and celery are not for me) is to always ask for a sample of the weirder aromas out there, rather than ordering them outright. The staff in most places is more than happy to help.
Gelateria Fassi: Il Palazzo del Freddo
Classics never go out of fashion
My favourite in regards to both price and quality, Gelateria Fassi also known as the Palazzo del Freddo (Palace of Coldness?) truly did not disappoint, even if it can be a bit out of the way. If you happen to find yourself near the Roma Termini train station, you should definitely stop here for refreshment. Since we were lodged nearby, this was the first stop we actually made in our little gelato tour.
Being one of the oldest in town, the setting did not disappoint, taking you on a trip down memory lane with its 700 square meters of epoch setting and ice-cream making museum. They can even provide tours of the laboratory every day, provided you book in advance; an ice-cream is included in the price of ticket.
As for the ice-cream itself, there are plenty of aromas to be had, both conventional and seasonal, not to mention the tiramisu, ice-cream sandwiches (tramezzino) and all the other cakes on display. As in most of the nicer gelato places I’ve visited, the creme fresh is included in the price so be sure to say yes when they ask if you’d like some. If they don’t ask about it, make sure you do inquire, as sometimes they might forget about that delicious cream.
The devil is in the detail
If you spoke a bit of Italian, you probably wouldn’t be tempted to stop here for the name: “Icecream point” is not the most attention-grabbing out there.
Nevertheless, Punto gelato is one of those places you can’t afford to miss, not only for the variety of what’s on offer, but also because of how they use their ingredients.
Punto Gelato by Günther Rohregger uses microfiltered milk, which means the resulting gelato is creamy, rich and with perfect density. Balsamic vinegar, Gorgonzola, ricotta mixed with strawberry, buffalo milk from Lazio or pink pepper from Madagascar, ten variations on chocolate, not to mention the classic flavours you’d expect in any ice-cream parlour or can all be found at Günther’s.
If you don’t want sugar in your life or lactose for that matter, Punto Gelato has you covered. As usual, the staff was super friendly; I haven’t yet met a moody gelato dealer! And obviously, the gelato was to die for.
Last on the list, but surely not the least
Otaleg! which is gelato spelled backwards (I know, right?) is another place you shouldn’t miss, especially if you find yourself ambling around the Trastevere neighbourhood.
Marco Radicioni, the owner of Otaleg! is one of the pupils who learned under the great gelato maker Claudio Torcè, of the gelateria Torcè mentioned above. Having as much as 60 different kinds of flavors when operating at full capacity, you will probably find what you’re looking for at his place.
Interesting, this ice cream does not derive its uniqueness from the ingredients only, but also through the process of its making, which takes time since Marco puts passion in everything he does, from picking the best ingredients, to preparing one of the best gelato in Rome.
Through this article I hope I have given you some reasons to visit Rome soon, and if I did, make yourself a favour and try at least one of these places. Until then, don’t stop wandering!