Where’s the best gelato in Rome? Continue reading, for I have roamed the Italian capital in search, only so that I could share the best one with you.
I certainly love a good gelato. This is possibly one of the best Italian inventions, and Rome is an amazing place to sample some of the country’s greatest gelato establishments.
When you head to Eternal City, you’ll want to be sampling only the best gelato in Rome, right? It can be hard to find good quality artigianale stuff if you don’t know where to look. Because gelato just refers to a frozen dessert, technically any establishment can say they serve gelato and many will claim they are offering gelato artigianale when in fact they are not.
But I know that what you’re looking for is the real deal, artisanal treat. And this guide is all about helping you to sample the best gelato in Rome.
3 Tips To Recognize Good Gelato
The first thing to know about gelato is that not all gelato is created equally; in fact, there’s a big difference between the two main types of sweet treat, namely industrial gelato and gelato artigianale.
Generally, in Italian the word gelato just means “frozen” and refers to any type of frozen dessert. However, in English, gelato specifically refers to the artigianale or artisanal variety. This type of gelato contains 6 to 9% butterfat, which is generally a lower amount of dairy than you might find in other ice cream.
The lower fat content allows the flavors to do the talking rather than the rich cream. It’s also denser than a typical ice cream. Usually, it is crafted by hand in small batches.
On the other hand, industrial gelato is made in big batches. It is typically lower in quality, features less in the way of fresh and/or organic ingredients, and ultimately is not as tasty.
Check the color
Because good quality gelato is usually made from natural ingredients, the color is typically not very dazzling or bright. In fact, it may look a bit dull, or be light-colored pastel shades of color.
The industrial style gelato will often, if not always, be quite bright in color, owing to the additives and artificial flavors which are mixed with the milk in the gelato machine. So that’s the first tip: look out for the color.
Check for how tall the gelato is
This may sound weird, but alas… Another thing to look out for is how tall the gelato is sitting in the containers. Unless the gelato is super, super fresh (as in, just been brought out), it’s not likely to be standing up by itself. Good gelato sits within the container, as additives usually allow it to stand up in those crazy towers you may see – as pictured above.
The less choice in flavors, the better
The next thing to look out for is if there’s too much on offer. Too much variety of flavor could mean (but not always) that there’s a large factory behind the operation. On the subject of flavors, if a gelato place is offering seasonal flavors, that’s often a good sign as they’re using fruits available only now. A good place will rotate its flavors throughout the year depending on what’s in season.
Where To Have The Best Gelato In Rome
If you’re lactose intolerant like me, and even if you are vegan or vegetarian, don’t worry! Many of the places I’m listing below sell delicious sorbetti (sorbets) and lactose free and even vegan options. These are often made with no dairy at all, allowing you to enjoy deliciously fresh and sweet frozen treats while you explore Rome.
Trastevere isn’t short of fantastic gelaterie, as evidenced by this entry: Fiordiluna. This is easily my favorite gelateria in town – I came across it by pure chance on my way to a wine bar in Trastevere and decided to try it. Here you’ll find some of the best gelato in Rome. It’s a small but beautiful shop where minimalism is the main focus, both in terms of the style of the shop and in the simple but amazing flavors on offer.
Opening its doors in 1993, this family-run gelateria uses an abundance of fresh, organic ingredients, and even has a few lactose-free options: try the coconut and Madagascar chocolate flavors – they are the ones I had: you won’t be disappointed and you won’t miss the dairy texture at all!
Via della Lungaretta, 96, 00153
Otaleg (that’s “gelato” spelt backwards) is also situated in the buzzing district of Trastevere. This all-natural, organic-only gelateria has a huge focus on care and attention to detail. Like a gelato laboratory, there’s also a distinct playfulness in terms of flavors, too, including gorgonzola and chocolate, or how about beetroot sorbet?
The shop itself lacks the “classic” feel of some of the more charming or well-established gelaterias in Rome; instead it’s all about the sleek interior. I can’t talk about this place without mentioning their lactose-free wild strawberry gelato – once again you won’t miss the cream with such a heavenly texture!
Via di S. Cosimato, 14a, 00153
This historic gelateria in Esquilino was established in 1880. Many believe that it’s the oldest one still in operation in Rome. The family-run eatery is a sizeable space where daily queues gather to sample their fresh gelato. The 1950s style decor of the interior is brimming with retro-chic, and is ideally suited to the ice cream parlor vibes. There are plenty of usual and classic gelato flavors to try, and enough seating so you won’t have to wait too long if you want to sit down.
Contrary to many other gelaterie in Rome, Fassi has a wide choice of flavors (it’s so massive, it goes without saying), with plenty of dairy free choices too. I had the hazelnut and chocolate flavors – a classic – and it was absolutely delicious.
Via Principe Eugenio, 65-67, 00185
Gelateria dei Gracchi
For something to enjoy on the go, rather than a place to sit down, there’s Gelateria dei Gracchi. With a number of locations in the city, the iteration close to the Vatican is the ideal place to avoid the tourist crowds and find some genuine gelato artigianale – it definitely is one of the best gelato in Rome.
With its red and white tiles, this hole-in-the-wall joint is eye-catching, but it’s the gelato that takes center stage. The most popular flavors on offer are the nuttiest: pistacchio, almond and hazelnut. Go for one of those and take yourself on a slow stroll around this slice of the city.
Via dei Gracchi, 272, 00193
Neve di Latte
Another gelateria with a couple of branches, one in Prati and one near the Museum of Contemporary Art and Architecture (MAXXI), neither of Neve di Latte’s locations will disappoint. Serving up all natural ingredients, the gelato here is deliciously delicate and intensely creamy. You won’t find any refined sugars, colorings or preservatives used in these gelato; the sorbets are also amazing. Go for the Prati iteration if you’re in the vicinity of the Vatican.
Via Federico Cesi, 1, 00193
Gelateria del Teatro
Popular with tourists and locals alike, the branch of Gelateria del Teatro closest to Piazza Navona (there’s two, and another near Campo de’Fiori) will blow your mind. Attention to detail has been poured into every flavor on offer here, alongside a sizeable helping of creativity.
The flavors on offer here are inventive, and you can expect a selection of original creations such as sage and raspberry, or lavender and white peach (that’s my favorite!), to sample. You may have to queue for 10 minutes or so, but I’d say it’s worth it. The staff are also friendly and helpful, which makes a difference.
Via dei Coronari, 65/66, 00186
Another gelateria situated near Piazza Navona, Frigidarium – taking its name from the cold pool of ancient Roman bath houses – blends both historic and modern techniques in the crafting of its amazing gelato.
This artisanal ice cream parlor is merely a small hole in the wall, but what it lacks in size it more than makes up for in flavor. This place is the real deal. I loved the lemon and strawberry flavors!
Via del Governo Vecchio, 112, 00186
With a number of locations in the city, Fatamorgana is famed for its unique flavor combinations. The flavor notes depend on the season, and there’s a cleverly creative blend of different seasonings to choose from: think rose petals and violets, ginger and horseradish.
They also serve up gelati without dairy here, as well as gluten-free cones, so if you have specific dietary requirements it’s a good place to make a beeline for. Thankfully they have several branches in the city, too, but I’m talking about the Trastevere locale.
Via Roma Libera, 11, 00153
Fiocco di Neve
If you’re out and about near the Pantheon and you feel like a cooling, refreshing snack, then look no further than Fiocco di Neve. Here, situated along a historic cobbled street, you’ll find some of the best gelato in Rome to gorge on inside a contemporary interior.
The particularly tasty flavors on offer here include watermelon and dark chocolate, salted caramel and pistachio, but the most popular has to be the strawberry gelato. Divine. And it’s only two minutes on foot from the Pantheon.
Via del Pantheon, 51, 00186
Il Gelato di San Crispino
It may not be the first time you’ve seen this small gelateria. That’s because Il Gelato di San Crispino features in the book and film Eat, Pray, Love. Even though this gelato shop may have been made famous on the silver screen, that doesn’t mean it’s not without reason.
All the gelato on offer here is made from natural ingredients, and the steady stream of crowds here are a testament to the delicious flavors you can pick up. They’re all classics: pistachio, coffee, hazelnut. Take your pick, but only in a cup – no cones available, folks!
Via della Panetteria, 42, 00187
With its columns of cones and pastel color pops of gelato behind the counter, Giolitti is a longstanding player in the world of ice cream. In fact, this place has been family-owned since 1900. The interior of this gelateria is as classic as the flavors you can sample here. Step inside the door – a hop, skip and a jump from the Pantheon – and it’s like traveling back in time to the elegance of the fin de siecle.
Not only is ice cream on offer here: there are also chocolates, sundaes and other desserts to indulge in. Don’t let the large selection of flavors put you off, as this place is about as artisanal as they get. Keep in mind they won’t serve take away gelato in cones or cups: at Giolitti, gelato only comes in beautiful glass cups you can enjoy while comfortably sitting inside or outside.
Tip: the coffee is also excellent if you need a pick-me-up!
Via degli Uffici del Vicario, 40, 00186
Over in Monti, Verdi Pistacchio also has some serious retro appeal. Inside you’ll find a VW van (even the counter is part of this classic vehicle) and a pistachio-hued Vespa parked up. Of course, this place is all about the holy grail of gelato flavors: pistachio – or pistacchio (that’s how you’ll see it spelled in Italy).
But for those who aren’t so keen on the nutty richness of pistachio (seriously though, what’s wrong with you?), don’t worry. There’s also a good selection of delectably fruity flavors including crunchy cherry and the must-try melon. Alongside the friendly service, another bonus is that you can even join a gelato-making workshop at Verde Pistacchio to learn how to make your own frozen treats.
Via Nazionale, 239, 00184
Yet another venerable Roman gelateria situated a stone’s throw from the Pantheon, Gunther Gelato Italiano opened its first shop behind Campo de’ Fiori in 2012. Owner, Gunther Arhregger has since opened two more branches of the gelateria, and continues to be a success in the world of ice cream. The gelato on offer is packed full of interesting tastes, which attracts new customers and keeps the faithful coming back.
Some of the truly exceptional flavors to try here include mugo pine (yes, really), white chocolate and raspberry, and ricotta stregata. I had the cream and tiramisu flavor and they were both deliciously decadent. The gelato is made using only organic milk produced from local farms, seasonal ingredients and water sourced from Plose Mountain.
Piazza di S. Eustachio, 47, 00186
In the kooky Quartiere Coppede, Pasticceria Grue is the place to go for all your sweet (and savory) needs. Not only do they serve up some mean gelato at this local favorite, but the stylish couple-run establishment is also a hotbed of a whole host of other sweet pastries. In fact, you could opt for a chocolate brownie topped with gelato!
If you’re really hungry, you could actually swing by for lunch; there’s a good selection of food that’s hard to turn down, including savory tarts and panini.
Viale Regina Margherita, 95, 00198
Now, Venchi is a popular chain gelateria in Rome. I wouldn’t necessarily say that this is one of the best gelaterias in Rome – and I was honestly torn whether I should include it at all. But this glitzy operation has been in business for 140 years and has locations across the world, from Tokyo to London. In Rome, they’re near tourist hotspots: Spanish Steps (the address below), Termini, the Pantheon, and more.
If you’re not too fussed about getting a proper gelato artigianale, then there’s nothing stopping you from going for this place. For one thing, the many flavors on offer will be enough to win some people over, especially if you like a lot of choice. And if you are a chocolate fan you can get your cone stuffed with melted chocolate, and your gelato topped with more chocolate sprinkles for measure.
Via della Croce, 25/26, 00187
Guided Tours To Find The Best Gelato In Rome
Gelato tours in Rome are actually a thing, so if you want to learn more about the art of making good gelato artigianale and discover some of the best gelato in Rome you may want to consider joining a guided tour.
For a tour that includes tastings of gelato, tiramisu and coffee, click here.
For a twilight walking tour of Rome with gelato tasting, click here.
For a kids’ friendly gelato tour of Rome, click here.
Looking to eat your way around Rome? Make sure to read these posts: