“When in Rome, live as the Romans do; when elsewhere, live as they live elsewhere.” – St. Ambrose.
Our interpretation of this astute quotation is – since gelato was created in the 16th century, for, no less a being than Catherine dei Medici, and we’d love to live like a Medici, we must eat all of the gelato we can to attain the heights of good living like the Medicis. We sampled hundreds of scoops to help you find the best.
Here’s a handy map of the gelaterias we have visited in Rome:
Rome Ice Cream Map
Two that, in our opinion, you can skip altogether:
Vale Gelato – Piazza del Gesù, 48B, 00186. When 4 of 4 of us THROW AWAY gelato, you know there’s a problem. Stay away. On a 1-10 scale, a 1, to be generous.
Ice Cream Gelateria – Via Torino, 129, 00184. Weird mouth feel and not particularly flavorful; artificial tasting. Maybe a 2. Isn’t that sad?
Some in the fair to middlin’ category
La Nazionale Gelateria – Via Nazionale, 00184. Good chocolate, fair pistachio and vanilla. Let’s call it a 7.
Verde Pistachio – Via Nazionale, 239, 00184 True to its name, the pistachio was great, but, the chocolate, vanilla and fruit flavors were just good. Also a 7ish.
Palma Gelateria – Via della Maddalena, 19-23, 00186. Long lines for what we thought was good, but, again, not great. 7.5 for sheer variety.
Frigidarium – Via del Governo Vecchio, 112, 00186. I was a little skeptical because their ice cream is kind of “piled up” and, the colors don’t look altogether natural. That said, it was tasty. I’d score it an 8.
There were lots that we would definitely visit again:
Giolitti – Via degli Uffici del Vicario, 40, 00186. It’s been around for more than a century and for good reason. High quality – love their truffles and their Olympic Cup and World Cup desserts. Great chocolate and excellent fruit flavors. 8.5
Fior di Luna – Via della Lungaretta, 96, 00153 – stopped on a whim and were suitably impressed with all of their fresh tasting flavors. Smallish selection, but worthwhile. 8.75
Il Capriccio di Carla – 3 words – apple, kiwi, ginger. Altogether delightful. The Valhrona Dark Chocolate is a winner too. A solid 9.
Fata Morgana Trastavere – Via Roma Libera, 11, 00153 – Delicious Passion Fruit, but, it had an overwhelming number of seeds in there, so a little off. Loved their chocolate, and the pistachio was one of the better ones we tried. 8.5
The three that stood out most for us in Rome were:
Grom – Via della Maddalena, 30a, 00186 (nearly a dozen locations in Rome, and you can’t go wrong at any of them). Oh, GROM! I know you are a chain, but, we love you just the same. We visited 3 or 4 times in 6 days on this trip. Consistently excellent. Stracciatella, Dark Chocolate, Pistachio, Crema, even the Lemon granita – so so so so good. 10 out of 10 every danged time.
Gelateria del Teatro – Lungotevere dei Vallati, 25, 00186. The White Peach and Lavender should have its own fan club. I volunteer as President. Creamy, delicious, perfect flavor combination. The Passion Fruit knocked my socks off too. Both men behind the counter (very handsome father and son) were as sweet as their product. The kids were suitably mortified at our discussion of their aesthetic merits. 10 out of 10.
And, last, but, definitely not least:
Gelateria dei Gracchi – Via dei Gracchi, 272, 00193. Unassuming little spot about 15 minutes’ walk from the Vatican Museum. This was the only place where, after our first, moderately-sized cups, we ordered extra scoops. The melon flavors, pistachio, the chocolates, the passion fruit, we could not stop ourselves. It’s a good thing we averaged 8 miles of walking each day in the city. 101 out of 10. Next time, just leave me in there with a spoon.