Though its hard to believe, ice cream existed before gelato. Italy took the existing sweet delight and put its own spin on it, doing us one better and creating a cool and creamy interpretation called gelato. Gelato, compared to ice cream, has less fat and less air but is so much more flavorful. Most Americans know how to tell if an ice cream flavor is good or not, but might not be as well-prepared when it comes to distinguishing the very best gelato from gelato that’s just ok. Fear not, the next time you’re in Rome, choose one of the following locations and you’ll be satisfied. Recommended by locals, these places have the best gelato in Rome!
Palazzo del Freddo di Giovanni Fassi
In business since 1880, Fassi’s crown jewel is its specialty, the Sanpietrino, a semifreddo which is inspired by and named after the Roman roads paved with “sanpietrini,” or Roman cobblestones. The classic version features dark chocolate frosting and a filling of 6 flavors: chocolate, hazelnut, cream, coconut, zabaione, and coffee. They also have the Sanpietrino in pistachio, hazelnut, white chocolate covered berries, and lemon cream. Other specialties are the Caterinetta and cassata. Fassi’s also famous for its full-bodied cream.
As far as their gelato is concerned, they’ve got their classic flavors that never change. While on a monthly basis, Fassi creates new cream and/or fruit flavors that he then adds into the rotation. Regarding fruit flavored gelato, Fassi adapts its selection based on the seasonal availability of the various fruits used. Instead, the cream based flavors vary based on the inspiration of master Andrea Fassi and the gelato laboratory head, Armando Mazza.
Address: via Principe Eugenio, 65, Roma | Phone: +39 06 4464740 | Hours: Monday-Thursday 12pm-12am, Friday-Saturday 12pm-12.30am, Sunday 10am-12am | Web: www.gelateriafassi.com
With 3 locations in Rome to serve the public, La Romana is a sheer delight…unbeatable creamy goodness every time. Dedicated to following tradition when it comes to preparing its flavors, La Romana was founded in the historic center of Rimini in 1947, taking its name from the daughter of the first owner and founder, Vito Zucchi, who at that time decided to open the first artisanal “gelateria” or gelato shop in all of Rimini. Thanks to his fertile imagination, he invented a wide range of quality flavors. Each and every flavor’s still produced and available at every one of the locations.
As if La Romana’s awesome gelato wasn’t enough, they’ve got a white and dark chocolate fountain used to fill the tip of your cone with if you’d like and three different kinds of whipped cream to top off your gelato: coffee, zabaione, and cocoa. Yum!
Address: via cola di Rienzo, 2, Roma – via Ostiense, 48, Roma – via Venti Settembre, 60, Roma | Hours: Monday-Thursday 12pm-12am, Friday-Saturday 12pm-1am, Sunday 11am-12am | Web: www.gelateriaromana.com
Il Gelato di Claudio Torcè
Usually, if a gelato shop produces more than 20-30 flavors, it is full of artificial ingredients and not good quality. However that’s not the case at master Claudio Torcè’s gelato shop. When he opened his first shop in 2003, he immediately began with 100 flavors, even though many people were skeptical he could excellently pull off so many. Well he definately proved the naysayers wrong! Although they have a lot of flavors to maintain, each one’s jam packed with quality and taste amazing.
Some of the specialties include the chocolate flavors and the selection is very creative including chocolate concoctions like chocolate/ginger/lemon and chocolate/paprika/chilli pepper. The original location’s on viale dell’aeronautica, but the brand has now expanded to 7 other locations. I highly recommend one of the specialties, Fantasia di Bronte, which is almond/pistachio/pine nut.
Address: viale dell’aeronautica, 105, Roma (and 7 other locations) | Phone: +39 06 512 8948 | Hours: Vary by location | Web: www.ilgelatodiclaudiotorce.com
According to Marco Radiconi, owner and gelato master, the Otaleg philosophy is, not being afraid to spend an hour and a half to two hours in the laboratory to create one single flavor. While other gelato shops use pasteurizers, Otaleg uses a large boiler which allows Mr. Radiconi to intervene when necessary and add or modify ingredients during the flavor creation process; something you can’t do when using a pasteurizer.
Otaleg also has very unique and original flavors such as gorgonzola with white chocolate and hazelnuts, black olive, and mustard. These unthinkable gelato combos, along with the not so outlandish ones, knock it out of the park every time…Delish!
Address: viale dei Colli Portuensi, 594, Roma | Phone: +39 338 651 5450 | Hours: 12pm-12am | Web: www.otaleg.com
Gelateria Artigianale Corona
All the flavors at this small gelato shop are the production of a father and son team. Nothing artificial is added to the gelato and they are constantly updating their flavors according to seasonal availability of the freshest ingredients. Along with the classic single gelato flavors like chocolate or hazelnut, they’ve got some very inventive flavors as well. Some of the unique ones are ricotta, cinnamon, apricot,amaretto cookie, kiwi, carrot and ginger. No matter what flavor you choose here, it’s nearly impossible to go wrong…everything is outstanding!
Address: Largo Arenula, 27, Roma | Phone: +39 06 6880 8054 | Hours: 12pm-2am
With Summer officially here, what better way is there to cool yourself off than with a delicious and refreshing gelato? Whether you live in Caput Mundi or just passing through, stop by one of these gems for a tasty treat. All of these places won’t disappoint!
Check out our blog post 4 Best Places to Eat Near the Trevi Fountain