Few things are more satisfying on a hot summer day than a creamy, cold gelato. Though you can find gelato across Italy and, indeed, around the world, there’s no better place to try the real thing than in Rome, where it’s been served since the sixth century.
For those not in the know, gelato isn’t just Italian ice cream. Its higher milk-to-cream ratio and absence of eggs means it’s healthier for you than ice cream. It’s also churned at a slower rate and served at a warmer temperature, which makes gelato denser than ice cream and helps it dissolve instantly in your mouth for a more intense flavor experience.
There are hundreds gelaterias in the Eternal City, each with its own specialty and variety of flavors for you to try. Where to begin a decadent tour of the best gelato in Rome? Here are five of the city’s must-try spots.
Gelato so good they’ve gone international! Owner Maria Agnese’s passion for using 100-percent natural ingredients to create innovative flavors manifests in the uniqueness of the gelato offered in her shops — both the original location in Rome and in her brand-new gelateria located in Studio City, California.
Combinations like Kentucky chocolate with tobacco and cinnamon cream, or the aptly named “Little Devil” made with tomatoes and habanero peppers, are just a few of the surprising offerings that keep visitors coming back.
Just a short walk from the Piazza Navona, this local institution sources ingredients from all across Italy. Visitors with a little time can even observe their favorite gelato being made and even assist in the process through half-day workshops at their in-house Academy.
The gelato here is known as the creamiest in all of Rome, and the flavors tend toward the more delicate and classic rather than flashy or trendy — a perfect match for the shop’s Coronari Street location, which is down a cobblestone alley and set beneath a former theater.
Their classic style of gelato was so popular they opened a second location on Lungotevere dei Vallati, in the Trastevere neighborhood.
Consistently rated one of the best gelaterias in Rome, Grom prides itself on its use of fresh, high-quality ingredients. With multiple locations around the city, it’s also known for the ability to accommodate gelato lovers with various food allergies.
There’s even a handy guide on the Grom website that tells you which flavors contain potentially problematic ingredients.
Can’t make it to Rome? Grom also has locations across Italy and the globe, including shops in New York, Paris, Jakarta and beyond.
After being mentioned in the bestselling novel “Eat, Pray, Love,” this gelateria — whose central location is steps from the famous Trevi Fountain — became one of the most popular in the city.
Known for its commitment to truly authentic gelato, San Crispino eschews the use of artificial coloring, preservatives or chemical emulsifiers. They also refuse to serve their gelato in cones for fear it compromises the flavor of the gelato itself. Instead, gelato at San Crispino is served only in paper cups and at a low enough temperature to make sure it melts in your mouth perfectly.
Don’t have time (or energy) to walk to the nearest gelato shop? Let it come to you! Frigo gelato is a throwback to the ice-cream trucks of your childhood.
Housed in a vintage ice-cream van, Frigo features gelato made from all natural ingredients, including seasonal fruit favorites. The truck’s location varies from day to day, but you can follow them on Facebook to see where in Rome they’ll be at any given time.