Having spent at least 1 year of my life in the Eternal City and being a self proclaimed gelato expert, I have carefully picked my top favourite gelaterias in Rome. Let me first just state that ice cream is not the same as gelato. While they both contain a similar ingredient list, gelato contains more milk than cream, and it sometimes doesn’t use egg yolks either. Gelato is also stored at a slightly warmer temperature, which allows it to be on the softer side. Unlike ice cream, it’s actually churned more slowly, adding less air, making it more creamy! Not to mention the ingredient list in Italy is truly something else, using local ingredients to flavour their gelato, such as Pistacchio di Bronte, for example, you bring the entire experience to another level. Think of ice cream, then times that by 100 – it truly is superior! Now that we know the difference, don’t get me wrong, any gelato in Italy (even the not so good ones) are likely the best anywhere else. However, if you are planning a trip to Rome, you should definitely put at least one of these gelaterias on your To-Try List. For just a few euros (a small being around 2 euros), this gelato is truly an orgasmic experience (I have a major sweet tooth, by the way). I will be sure to include my favourite flavours, as well as most popular/central locations for your convenience. In no particular order, here we go…
Fiocco di Neve – Via del Pantheon, 51, 00186
This gelateria is conveniently located just steps away from the Pantheon. They make the BEST Zabaione gelato I have ever tried anywhere else. Zabaione is basically a creamy custard-like dessert made of sugar, egg yolks, and Marsala wine. They also make a great affogato (gelato that has been ‘drowned’ in espresso). This gelato is so rich and creamy, I still have dreams about it. This flavour pairs nicely with their Chocolate Rice (Cioccolato Riso) flavour. A great treat to eat while taking in the beautiful sites. This gelateria was recently closed (for repairs I believe), but it is back again, up and running, and I’m so glad! I should really try their other flavours here as they look delicious as well, but I always stop by when I’m craving their Zabaione!
I Caruso – Via Collina, 13, 00187
This gelateria is one of my favourites for one very important reason – their panna (whipped cream) comes in a Zabaione flavour (ok, I really love zabaione), which is a must try. Not only is their gelato amazing, but once paired with that panna this gelato is truly on another level. They usually have a flavour of the week/month that is really great and should not be missed. I loved their pistachio flavour (but I happen to really love pistachio flavours in Italy, as it’s like nothing you’ve ever tried). There is also a flavour called Crema Come Una Volta that is similar to a creamy lemon and vanilla flavour that was really good. I rarely go for fruity flavours, but I was craving something more refreshing that day and it was delicious. I’ve been several times and you basically can’t go wrong here. By the way, there are 2 locations of this gelateria, and right around the corner from each other, which is a it odd, but this location that I mentioned (with a big window on the outside to look in on them whipping up gelato) is the better one. They are more generous here, and I also remember being served by a really sweet older gentleman, who upon learning about my love for their zabaione panna suggested I have it “sotto, sopra” meaning on the top AND bottom. I love that man.
Miami – Piazza Francesco Cucchi, 8, 00152
This gelateria was unique to me because it was one of the first I’d seen that offers to dip your gelato in chocolate (If you get it in a cone, I believe). It also has really unique flavours like caramel and fig. The one thing I remember when eating this gelato was how fresh it was. A good indicator of great gelato is when there are not too many flavours to choose from, as the few they have are sure to be delicious. I remember having a really amazing orange and chocolate flavour as well, so good! This gelato was really indescribably good so you’ll have to try it for yourself and then thank me later! This gelateria is a bit out of the way, but a few blocks away from a lovely fountain “Fontana dell’Acqua Paola” (past Trastevere), if you visit that lovely fountain (featured in La Grande Belezza), be sure to look out for this gelateria. I believe there may be other locations, so be sure to check them out as well if they happen to be closer to you, but this one (Francesco Cucchi) is the original.
Old Bridge – Viale dei Bastioni Di Michelangelo, 5, 500192
This gelateria is literally around the corner from the Vatican Museum, and is also well known for having line ups that go around the corner. Usually I stay clear of places that seem to be touristy, however it was locals that introduced me to this spot, and I’m so happy for it. I always make sure to have this gelato when I’m in Rome as they make one of my favourite flavours ever – Ricotta Pistacchio! There are little cruncy and creamy bits of pistachio in this flavour, it’s just heavenly! In the hot Italian weather this gelato tends to melt quite quickly (which is also a great indicator of amazing gelato – not that hard Ice Cream that we are used to in Canada/USA, Italian gelato is truly melt-in-your-mouth perfection)! They also had a really nice Pinoli flavour as well. *There is also a location inside Trastevere, but I personally found this location to not be as good as the original (Via Dei Bastioni). At the location I mentioned, they tend to offer more unique flavours, and they also pile it just a bit higher 😉
Giolitti – Via degli Uffici del Vicario, 40, 00186
This gelateria is basically a MUST when in Rome, as it is truly loved by locals and tourists alike. It is quite central in Rome, however, it can be a bit tricky to find, so be sure to map it out before hand, as it should NOT be missed. They have many flavours and they are ALL good; I don’t think I’ve ever gone wrong here. If you are a chocolate lover they have the BEST Cioccolato Fondente (Dark Chocolate) flavour that I’ve ever tried. I also LOVE their Pistachio, and a little tip is to try the Pistachio flavour of any gelateria as it is usually a good indicator of it being worth your while or not. I am usually one for rich and creamy flavours, rather than fruity and light ones, but that is just my preference. I know however, that they do also make great fruity variations if you’re a fan. They have delicious panna (whipped cream) which isn’t sweet, so that it compliments nicely with the sweet gelato. This is one of the best and very central, so you really have no excuses not to try this! It’s basically a Roman classic, every Roman has heard of and tried this gelato, it’s also over 100 years old! (I had panna on top of my gelato, but it literally fell off as I took this photo)!
Il Gelato di Claudio Torce – Viale Aventino, 59, 00153 Roma, Italy
There are a few locations of this gelateria, so be sure to check good-old Google before hand, as there may be one closer to you. This gelato stands out to me because they have really unique flavours (and I mean truly unique, mixing even cheeses and wines etc…). They also have ‘normal’ flavours as well, I remember really having a peanut butter craving one day, and I mixed a salted dark chocolate flavour with their peanut flavour and it was amazing! If you are a chocolate lover they really have at least 15+ variations of chocolate ranging from white to the darkest of dark chocolate. Out of all the gelaterias mentioned, this one is definitely the most gourmet.
Mizzica – Via Catanzaro, 30-36, 00161
This isn’t even a “just” gelateria, this shop specializes in Sicilian treats both savory and sweet, and before I get to the gelato I need to say a few things… They make the BEST Cannoli I have ever tried, they make my favourite Cassatina (Mini Cassata Siciliana which is a ricotta cake), they make the best Sicilian granitas (a Pistachio flavour that is truly amazing and unique), they make the best Arancini (stuffed rice balls), and the list could go on and on. So to discover that one of my favourite spots also makes AMAZING gelato was a real revelation for me. Not only this, but you can eat it Sicilian style inside a Brioche – so good! You need to come here! If you have room for gelato after everything I’ve mentioned, you will definitely be one happy traveler. The best flavour I’ve tried was called Setteveli (7 levels), as they mix 7 different flavours and it’s likely the best invention in the world. You need to come here. It is sadly a bit out of the way from the center, but trust me, it’s worth it. It is also very close to the subway stop Piazza Bologna, and usually always open late.
Gelateria Dei Gracchi – Via Dei Gracchi, 272, 00193 – or, Via di Ripetta 261, Rome, Italy
This gelateria, located near Piazza del Popolo (Via di Ripetta) makes such delicious creamy flavours (my favourites)! They also of course offer fruity flavours, as well as seasonal flavours. I remember the flavours being very rich and distinct. There was a chocolate rum flavour that had such a strong rum taste, it was divine! They also make a very good pistachio, and a chocolate orange as well (with chunks of orange zest), just thinking about it makes me hungry! There are not too many flavours to choose from at a time, which is a good thing, because it means each flavours is fresh and delicious. Like I’ve said before, be careful when going to a gelateria that has an abundance of flavours piled sky high. Don’t be scared to try their unique flavours, I once tried a flavour called “Zibibbo” which had boozy raisins inside, and the actual gelato flavour was of a creamy muscat white wine. SO GOOD!
Frigidarium – Via del Governo Vecchio, 112, 00186 Roma, Italy
This gelateria is probably one of the most popular as of lately, and I happened to discover it as it was right outside our airbnb one summer. Luckily it was right outside so I could easily access delicious gelato whenever the cravings hit me. At certain peek hours there were even long lines (they pass quickly). They have very few flavours, many of them changing daily. My boyfriend loved to get his gelato in a brioche (a sweet Italian bun), and eat it like a literal ice cream sandwich. It’s a few euros more, but worth it, and you get to choose 3 flavours this way, I believe. I remember having a really delicious cannoli flavour with pieces of candied fruit, nuts, cannoli shell, and a ricotta base – it was heavenly. It’s always a good thing when a gelateria offers a few flavours, as I previously stated, but perhaps on occasion there are too few! Luckily the flavours are always on rotation, and the quality is delicious. My boyfriend enjoyed the tiramisu flavour, and I remember them having a creamy cherry flavour (not sorbet, but a creamy base with black cherries, yum), called Amarena. This gelateria does not write the English translations of the gelato names, so you’ll have to use your eye sight, or brush up on your Italian. They do have the option to dip your gelato (even if you get a cup) in both chocolate and white chocolate, creating a shell around your delicious gelato. It is also located just steps away from one of my favourite piazzas – Piazza Navona! (Sorry for the bad photo, when I go back, I will be sure to get a better shot, but this is the gelato inside the brioche.
There you go! My favourite gelato and gelaterias in Rome! This list has technically begun back in 2010 during my first visit to beautiful Roma, and I have not stopped since. During all this time I may have even forgotten a few favourites (I basically lived in Rome on and off for at least 1 year and ate gelato at least every day, so chances are some have slipped my mind after all this time). I also tried to include places that I managed to capture with my camera. I know as I continue to visit Rome over the years, I will likely be adding to this list. However, these 9 have clearly made a lasting impression on me, and for good reason! One thing to note is that you won’t find these gelaterias to feature flavours piled as high as the sky here. Those types of gelaterias, as well as ones featuring hundreds of flavours should be avoided. I don’t know about you, but I’m really thankful to be returning to my favourite city later this summer, if only for the gelato alone! I’m sure after this trip I may update this list as well, so be sure to let me know of your favourites so I can check them out! Have you tried any of the gelaterias that I’ve mentioned? What is your go-to flavour? Mine is definitely Pistacchio, or anything unique and creamy.
*Updated in 2018 after my 2017 trip..
* I also have a video on my YouTube channel where I narrow it down to my top 5 favourite spots to get Gelato in Rome, not just based on how delicious they are, but also taking into consideration convenience of location, so be sure to check that out HERE