Best gelato in Rome
If you’re wondering where you can buy the best gelato in Rome, Italy, you’ve come to the right place. After careful research, I’ve paired my local knowledge with the recommendations of friends and many expats from Rome and come up with an updated and reliable list of the best ice cream in Rome. This list includes the top gelaterias within and on the fringe of the city’s historical center. You’ll also find one raw vegan gelato shop (if you’re looking for more than one, have a look here) and where to find a gelato class in Rome.
Best gelato in Rome
Let’s get down to the list first, and after that, I’ll share some essential information about gelato culture in Rome and Italy that I recommend you check out, to get the best out of your gelato experience. If you’re new to the city, you can also have a look at the following guided tours which include gelato making or tasting along with sightseeing.
Best ice cream in Rome: gelateria “La Romana”
La Romana takes the concept of gelato to another level. What really stands out about these ice cream shops is the complexity of the names of many of the gelato flavors. Take the “150 years since the union of Italy,” or the “Almond Sbrisolona;” a local wouldn’t be sure of the components of most of the flavors! This leads to long queues during gelato’s peak hours, e.g., afternoons (when kids get out of school), and at any hour during the hot summer in Rome. Some of the flavors have more deducible names, like “Yogurt with organic caramelized figs and roasted pine nuts.” Whatever you chose, you’ll hardly be dissatisfied: most of the creations are inspired by regional Italian desserts. The service is friendly and you’ll likely be given a replacement if something’s wrong with the one you chose. Gelato is made new in small quantities every 3 hours to ensure freshness.
Best gelato near the Vatican
These are some of the best ice creams in Rome, which you could use as a reward after a long visit to one of the most crowded museums in the world.
Neve di Latte – realm of organic gelato ingredients
The designers of this gelato are mainly concerned with the source of the ingredients. Hidden in each scoop are high mountain water, biodynamic milk, organic Demerara and Mascobado raw cane sugar, to name the basics. Nuts and chocolate are all sourced from DOC or IGP locations, like the Bronte Pistachios, Jamaya or Madong chocolate. My favorite gelato flavor from here is the Sicilian almond. They’re transparent about their sources, which are all displayed on the trays. This is a perfect choice even for rainy days, thanks to a long table inviting customers to stay inside. Address: Via Federico Cesi,1
Iamotti – classy gelateria in Prati
This elegant gelateria in the Prati neighborhood, together with gelato, offers frozen yogurt, granita, semi-frozen desserts, and waffles with gelato. The place is classy and relaxed, just off the proper historical center, half-way from the Vatican and the panoramic open terrace at the Osservatorio dello Zodiaco. The shop gives special consideration to vegans, since besides the common fruity vegan gelato, it also offers more refined flavors in a dairy-free version, like hazelnut, marron glacé, pistachio, chocolate, bitter gianduia chocolate, almond, and vanilla. Address: Via Trionfale, 122
Old Bridge – best gelato near the St. Peter’s Cathedral
It’s impossible to miss this gelato and crepes shop on your way from the Vatican Museum to St. Peter’s Cathedral. The two founders realized their dream of opening a gelateria in Rome’s center 30 years ago, and now it’s become a franchising project. This is one of the best choices in terms of quality/quantity/cost relationship, also convenient if you want to buy by a kilo or half-kilo. Flavors are those of the traditional Italian gelato, as well as some blends like “mandel, apricot, and amaretto” or “lime, maraca and vanilla.” Vegan visitors will have plenty of choice among the sorbets, which contain only fruits, carob flour, water, and sugar. Address: Viale dei Bastioni di Michelangelo, 5
Gelateria dei Gracchi – acclaimed pistachio gelato flavor in Rome
The founder and owner, Mr. Manassei, learned the art of ice cream from his brother back in their hometown on the Island of Sardinia. When he moved to Rome, where he’s been living for 20 years now, he was already an original gelato expert. The products he uses for gelato making are all from local farmers and seasonal, free of coloring, preservatives, and hydrogenated fats. The crown jewel among all the flavors is pistachio, which the gelato chef has taught at renowned culinary exhibitions. Address: Via dei Gracchi, 272
Best gelato near the Colosseum
Here are great gelato places which you can visit in the interesting Monti neighborhood, just a short walk from the most beloved historical landmark in Rome’s center.
Fatamorgana Monti – the dream come true of a female gelato artist
Maria Agnese is the name of the woman behind the astounding success of the franchising gelateria “Fatamorgana.” She fell in love with the gelato making art when she was a child and used to play with the gelato machine in her family house in the countryside. And it’s the special connection that Maria Agnese holds with nature, flowers, plants and seeds that gives her the inspiration to experiment with them unconventionally in the creation of her gelato flavors. So far, she’s perfected more than 300 recipes. In her shops, you’ll be able to choose from original flavors and blends, like “wasabi chocolate,” “hibiscus flowers,” “souchong tea,” and “pecorino cheese,” just to get your saliva flowing. Address: Piazza degli Zingari, 5
Grezzo – raw vegan gelato in Rome
This is the only shop in Rome where you can get raw vegan gelato. This is made with cold-pressed vegan ingredients like hazelnuts, strawberry, cocoa, peanuts, organic almond milk (even the almond milk is produced in loco!). The shop also serves vegan coffee and cappuccino and a variety of raw vegan desserts, cookies, and praline. Address: Via Urbana, 130
The oldest gelateria in Rome
If you walk from the Colosseum through the Monti neighborhood up to the Esquilino Hill, you’ll reach “Gelateria Fassi”, the oldest gelato shop in Rome, which this year celebrated its 139th birthday. The first thing to notice about this gelateria is its size, since it occupies the whole ground floor of a large ancient building, and has the space for many tables, a rarity for Rome’s gelato shops. So head here if you like to enjoy gelato not as a street food and prefer to sit comfortably.
Gelato Fassi’s story
The story of this ice cream shop is peculiar. Giovanni Fassi’s father and mother migrated to Rome from the regions of Piemonte and Sicily and opened a small ice store in the 19th century. Their son managed to be enrolled as the pastry chef in the Real House, as Italy was under a monarchy at that time, and his gelato was so successful that he gained the nickname “sovereign gelato-master.” When the country’s ruler issued the edict that all the workers must shave off their mustaches, Giovanni refused to do so and left his position to open an independent gelato shop in Rome’s center. In 1928, he moved to the current location, where he invested all his fortune to open a gelato lab and store of 700 sqm. Besides ice cream, the place is famous for its “sanpietrino.” This semi-frozen dessert is made of gelato and covered with melted bitter chocolate and named after the cobblestones typical of the roads of ancient Rome. Address: Via Principe Eugenio, 65
Best gelato near the Pantheon
Gelateria del Teatro – gelato making classes in Rome
The shop opened in 1988 and has one of the most praised gelatos in Rome. It hosts different gelato making workshops that suit everybody: a half-day for travelers, a 3-day course for amateurs, and higher education for ice cream professionals. Their gelato has choices that take into consideration lactose, gluten, and egg intolerance. For further information, visit their page. Address: Via dei Coronari, 65
Address: Via del Governo Vecchio, 112
Other gelateria in Rome acclaimed by locals and expats
Address: Via Felice Cavallotti 36B
Address: Via di S. Cosimato 14A
Piazza dell’Alberone 16A
Address: Via Magna Grecia, 25
Officina del gelato
Address: Via Francesco Grimaldi, 104
Address: via Salaria, 260
GELATO: THE ITALIAN ICE CREAM
In case you are wondering how gelato and ice cream are translated into Italian, know that the locals use only the word “gelato.” We do differentiate between “gelato alla frutta” (fruit gelato, usually vegan) and “crema” (literally “custards,” all the varieties and gelato flavors that employ milk, cream, and eggs). Gelato is considered a street food, a snack, a treat that everybody should be able to afford. To know more about the history of Italian gelato, visit here.
At the Italian gelateria
Over the last 20 years, the gelato scene in Italy’s major cities has developed tremendously. Gelato artists come up with new recipes every day and love to experiment a lot more than before, to surpass the competition and stand out in an environment overcrowded with gelato shops. When I was a child, Italians could find only a few flavors in shops, which we now call “classics:” stracciatella, custard, coffee, strawberry, hazelnut, pistachio, zabaglione, chocolate, and lemon. Gelato counter, Rome
Now that the main criterion to define the excellence of a gelato shop is the creation of new and original recipes, customers ask to sample flavors more often. While to travelers from other countries like the USA this seems like an obvious request, this is not always the case, and you’ll face different reactions in the shops. If there’s a long line at the gelato counter, they may not welcome this. You should also notice that they need to use a different plastic spoon for each flavor you want to try, and this isn’t convenient or eco friendly. Since a small cup of gelato is usually cheap, the attitude here is to try the flavor that inspires you most and enjoy the surprise.
Ordering gelato in Rome
Rome locals have always known three sizes for gelato: small, medium, and large, and for a long time you could get the small one (with two scoops and fresh cream on it) for €1.50 In the residential neighborhoods in the city outskirts this is still the norm, but the tune changes in the center, where gelato is priced per scoop, sometimes starting at €2.50 You can also buy gelato per kilo and eat it at home. When you know what to order, you’ll have to decide if you want it in a cone or in a cup. Some gelaterias put gelato inside brioches in the Sicilian style, and the ones with tables also arrange big cups of gelato. And that’s pretty much it… enjoy your gelato! If you’re new to Rome, you might find these articles helpful:
Also, consider going on tours that will help you to explore the amazing and often overwhelming city of Rome, without having to sort things out all by yourself.
Please let me know in the comments if you’ve tried any from this best gelato in Rome, Italy list.