Updated October 2016 - Where to find the best gelato in Rome? The gelato scene in Rome continues to evolve. For the better!
Since moving to Rome in 2001, I have made it my mission to seek out the best gelato in Rome ... I am still on that mission. In fact, I often go back to my favorite spots for a lot of taste-testing and quality control. A lot.
But I am also always on the lookout for new, wonderful flavours, and better yet, new and fabulous gelaterias in Rome.
And I will be sharing all that I find here. It's hard work but someone's gotta do it. You're welcome!
How do you define "the best gelato"? Here's how I define it, and how I chose my top ten list of the best gelato in Rome.
It must be quality gelato, made from scratch, with all fresh, all natural ingredients. (Even better, when I can see the laboratory on site.)
When I taste it, I want to taste the exact flavor I ordered, nothing artificial.
If I want to go back to a gelateria over and over, to try more flavors, or sometimes just to have one of my favorite go-to flavors, that's a sign of the best gelato in Rome.
Finally, when I bring friends, family and clients, they all swoon as much as I do, that to me is what constitutes the best gelato in Rome.
Now that there is some excellent gelato in Rome, it's gotten difficult to pick the 10 best. In fact, you will find plenty of superb gelato in a lot of suburbs and local neighborhoods. Most Romans can tell you where to get the best gelato in Rome in their hood, which may be far from the historic/touristic center.
I am listing what for me are really the top 10, in gelaterie that are either easy for you to get to, or worth making the trip for.
I am grouping this by my top 10 places for best gelato in Rome, followed by where I think are some more good options for gelato, even if they are not in my top ten.
Click here to jump to the bottom of this page, where you will find a map of these gelaterie.
This list of my favorite gelato in Rome is not in any particular order. I love them all.
You know how they say that a 3-star Michelin restaurant means it's worth taking the trip to go eat there?
Well, even if you are not staying anywhere near this gelateria (three locations in Rome), find a way to go out of your way. And be prepared to wait in line. Even in January.
I sometimes do this thing where I will get a cup or cone, with two flavors, typically pistacchio or almond, and dark chocolate, because those are my two barometer flavors I use to compare gelato in Rome.
And I'll say to myself, I'll just have a taste and then throw the rest away (yes I know this is sacrilegious but did you see the part above where I do A LOT of gelato tasting? I meant it. Sometimes 2-3 times a day.)
Well I tried doing this the first time I went to La Romana. It was my second gelato stop of the day in fact.
No dice. I inhaled every drop.
And on every visit since then, it's always the same.
And yes, I do go out of my way to go here and have the gelato. Do it.
Location 1: Via XX Settembre, 60 (Metro A, Termini or Repubblica)
Location 2: Via Ostiense, 48 (Metro B, Piramide)
Location 3: Via Cola di Rienzo, 2 (Metro A, Lepanto)
Fatamorgana is a local chain of gelato in Rome. They are in tucked away in little spots all over the city, thank goodness! That way I can multiply the number of times I can visit them.
I do a lot of taste-testing at Fatamorgana in January, when there is (almost) nobody else there. One winter I tried the seasonal flavor of panettone (typical Italian Christmas cake), which was a bid odd - it tasted exactly like panettone and frankly by January I am done with Christmas cakes. But that's an interesting concept and at Fatamorgana they are always experimenting and coming up with fascinating flavors.
Another neat flavor is banana-lime: holy-wow! Both the banana and the lime jump out in one bite. A keeper.
Recently I tried these two gelato flavors together: baklava (the greek/middle-eastern honey-nut pastry), and seadas (a very traditional Sardinian dessert, which is a cheese filled pastry, fried and covered in honey, o.m.g.) Both flavors were swoon-worthy by themselves. Together, it was heaven in a cone!
And if you want to be adventurous (and have tried just about all the other flavors so are open to experimenting), go for some of the not-sweet flavors. On another evening outing I sampled these two flavors: Olive taggiasche (black olives), and basil-walnut-honey. The flavors were perfect! It felt like I was having a cold aperitivo. Was only missing a nice aperol spritz to go with it!
Of course I always love their nutty flavors like almond or pistacchio. And their Madagascar chocolate is just as delicious as it sounds. (I have yet to venture to try the wintery "Kentucky" flavor of chocolate and tobacco, though.)
Monti location (near Coliseum and Cavour Metro B stop): Piazza degli Zingari 5
Trastevere location (near viale Trastevere tram line): via Roma Libera 11
Piazza del Popolo/Spanish Steps location (Metro A stop Popolo or Spagna): via Laurina 10
Check the Fatamorgana website for all their locations.
I used to think that Gelateria dei Gracchi was a bit too out of my way to get to enough. But as it turns out, two things happened since I discovered them:
So now there are two locations in Rome and I get there as often as I can.
So now let's talk about why. The gelato. It's amazing. All made from scratch daily, with all fresh ingredients. The kind of gelateria that always has a line out the door, and people willing to wait. Try it, you will see.
Location 1: Via dei Gracchi, 272 (metro A Lepanto)
Location 2: Via di Ripetta 261 (Metro A Flaminia, piazza del Popolo)
There is a third location on Viale Regina Margherita, 212, a more local Rome neighborhood.
Luckily I live very close to Riva Reno gelato in Rome, so I am able to do a lot of taste-testing here. There is only one in Rome, although it is an Italian franchise. They tell you on their site why their gelato is so good: they use whole milk from the north of Italy, the Piemonte region. They store their gelato in steel bins, below the counter, to keep air out and freshness in.
This is gelato at its finest. Love their classics (and they have dark chocolate and EXTRA dark chocolate, what more could you want?) but they also have some interesting and unexpected flavors too.
I adore the Contessa flavor, full of Sicilian almonds, amaretti biscuits, hazelnuts and caramelised almonds. And while I try to adhere to eat American food only when I am in the US, it’s comforting to know that if I want to, at Riva Reno, I could get the “New York – New York” flavor, which is essentially butter-pecan. But butter pecan gelato. Even better!
Location: via Magna Grecia 25. Metro A San Giovanni.
Claudio Torcè is known among Rome foodies (I really don't like this overused term but what else to call all the people who seriously follow and write about food in Rome?) as the head honcho of gelato.
I first visited his flagship store several years ago in EUR (a city/suburb just south of Rome), by chance, before I even knew how special it was. This was also before the new trend of treating gelato like a gourmet food.
I was amazed at the flavors listed there: wasabi; rice with cinnamon and honey (this was goooood even if mild); cashew and beer (I will have to try that another time), and so many more, sweet, savoury, spicy, cheesy, you name it! They also have many classic flavours, but in huge varieties. There are more chocolate flavors than even I know what to do with!
He's really the one who put interesting gelato on the map, going to new lengths to create new, strange and wonderful flavors that didn't seem feasible.
Only at Claudio Torcè can you try the gelato flavor of hotdog (wurstel), ketchup and mayonnaise (no I have not brought myself to try that one yet.)
What I can tell you is that when you see a gelato flavor here, like carbonara, expect the gelato to taste Just. Like. That.
Location 1: Viale Aventìno, 59 (Metro B Circo Massimo)
Location 2: Piazza del Risorgimento 51 (Metro A Ottaviano, just near the Vatican)
For more locations a little more outside Rome center, visit their website.
When you first approach Gelateria del Teatro, you can already see why it's going to be good. There is a window on via dei Coronari, with many of the fresh ingredients used in their gelato, on display. Then you can see a guy right there chopping ingredients to make the gelato. The laboratory takes up half the store and you just know they are making serious gelato in here.
I love this gelateria because they have some of the best of my go-to taste-test nut flavors: pistacchio, almond, hazelnut.
But they also get creative, with wonderful success. So sometimes I try their seasonal or experimental flavors and am always happy I did. (Although the pumpkin flavor in January was a bit too Thanksgiving-y for me by then.)
Let's talk about their white chocolate with fresh basil. It's sublime. The basil gets cooked down so it's not sharp, and so you can taste both the herb and the white chocolate side by side. This is one of those gelato flavors that actually does have a bright green color, but naturally, not from any dye or additive. Truly artistic gelato in Rome!
In summer, I've also tried their lavender and white peach gelato, and fig almond. Um, yeah it's as outrageous as it sounds. If you are here at the end of summer, and they have these flavors, give them a try.
Location: Via dei Coronari, 65 (between Piazza Navona and the Tiber River.)
There is a second, smaller location on Lungotevere dei Vallati 25, not far from the Isola Tiberina.
I'm not sure why it took me so long to try this gelato. I'd only heard from everyone Neve di Latte had some of the best gelato in Rome. And, it's ridiculously easy to get there even if out of my way.
Well the important thing is, I did finally try it, and Wow! They definitely belong in my top 10 Best Gelato in Rome. Mine is not the only list they are on, so I did not make a discovery but I do want to make sure you go check it out.
The laboratory is right there so you can see the gelato being made. Also, the master gelato maker himself, Simone Romano, is usually right there to tell you all about the gelato, if you ask.
But you can tell just by looking at it in the bins what high quality it is.
They use the best quality ingredients (milk from Piemonte, Parisi eggs, Amadei chocolate), and like at Gelateria Otaleg (number 9 below), you can see these ingredients on display.
But it's not just the ingredients: there is something about the way it's made that gives it a smoothness, consistency of texture and flavor, and creaminess, that is perfect and irresistible. You cannot stop eating it and when you are done, you want more.
The gelato at Neve di Latte is really some of the best in Rome, and worth going out of your way for (it's not far from Piazza del Popolo, and right near the wonderful modern art museum Maxxi and the Rome Auditorium.)
Location: Via Luigi Poletti, 6 (Tram 2 from Piazza del Popolo to Piazza Mancini)
A perfect stop before or after visiting Maxxi Museum. Closed Tuesdays.
At I Caruso, they have very few flavors, but whatever they have is always amazing. I sometimes try to get their "flavor of the day" special, but often find myself getting the simplest ones, because my mouth starts watering for them when I go in: pistachio and fior di panna.
They make the “perfect” pistachio: nutty, more brown-green than green, and super rich and creamy without being heavy. And it tastes just like smooth cold pistacchio nuts, as it should!
Fior di panna is not a flavor you find in every gelateria in Rome. Just the very good ones. And here, it's one of the best.
At i Caruso, like many artisanal gelaterie, they also sell frozen gelato treats, like these chocolate-covered gelato popsicles.
Location: Via Collina, 13-15, just off via XX Settembre or via Piave, near Piazza Fiume. Metro line A Termini or Repubblica. Open daily.
Otaleg ("gelato" spelled backward), may be one of the most out-of-the-way gelaterie on this list. But it has to be here because it is worth taking time out of your day to go here.
The master gelataio (gelato-maker) Marco Radicioni has taken gelato-creation to new heights of inventiveness and outrageous deliciousness. If you are looking for parmesan + balsamic gelato, you've come to the right place. Along with the other maestro of gelato, Claudio Torcè, these may be the two most interesting gelaterie in Rome if you really want to take taste-testing to another level.
Or, you can just have a cup of pecan gelato and salty hazelnut honey crunch gelato, topped with freshly whipped panna, like I did on my last visit. Swoon city.
Location: Viale dei Colli Portuensi 594. Getting here is not easy, but lots of buses come this way, depending on where you are coming from. Check ATAC for directions. Open daily.
Well this was a revelation for me! There are actually 3 locations in Rome of Günther Gelato, and I only recently got around to trying it! Luckily, I found out how amazing this gelato is because I was invited to a "vertical gelato tasting" there - yes that is as decadent as it sounds!
We started with the non-milk products, which were pretty much fruit sorbets (although there was a pistacchio and also a chocolate non-milk gelato, too.) Then we worked our way up to the creamier, denser and more complex flavors. I think I tasted over 25 flavors (they were little bites but still!)
Why is this gelato so special? As the gelato-master himself, Günther Rohregger, explained to us: he is from the very north of Italy, and this is where the best milk and the best water are from. He uses only those products, and the very best ingredients to make his gelato.
Everything was wonderful, but the flavors that grabbed me the most were the buffalo milk gelato with pink pepper corns from Madagascar (yes, trust me!!); the caramel with Himalayan salt; and omg the Indonesian cinnamon! I never knew I could be such a huge cinnamon gelato fan! Oh yeah, and the buffalo milk with chocolate nibs and black cherry. Hmmm, I think I have to get back there soon.
In fact, one of the most amazing things about this gelato is their website: when you visit the site, you can browse the flavors there. Once you pick one that sounds good to you, they will actually tell you what other flavors go with the one you chose! It's really genius and unique! (Site is only in Italian but it's full of photos so easy to figure out.)
Location: Piazza san Lorenzo in Lucina 29, a little plaza off via del Corso.
As I've said above, opinions about the best gelato in Rome abound, especially among Romans, who know where to find the best in their neighborhood. There is a lot of excellent gelato out there now. And if I've left off your favorite, please let me know and I'll be glad to check it out! All in the name of research of course.
Did I mention I do a lot of gelato tasting in Rome? The below are places I like, that have good gelato even if not all of them are truly artigianale. (As much as I love and appreciate genuine gelato, I am not a complete gelato snob.)
I don't go out of my way for these gelaterie. But if I am nearby and need a gelato (yes I am addicted), and one of my above faves is not right at hand, then I will stop at one of these.
On a recent visit to Neve di Latte (one of my top ten, above), I asked the gelato maestro (is that a thing?) there, Simone Romano, where else besides his gelateria has superb gelato.
He told me that one of his disciples (again, is that a thing? Can you be a gelato disciple?) had opened a small gelateria just behind Piazza Navona. It's called Ice cRome. So off I went. And Simone was right!
The gelato here is gorgeous, and it's also delicious! And the gelato-maestro himself, Salvo Villaggio, is always at hand, to help you decide which flavor you want (just in case you cannot make up your mind which seems to be my problem here.) Via del Governo Vecchio, 85
I probably shouldn't lump Florentine Gelateria Carapina in this list, because they make truly artisanal gelato. But it doesn't make my top 10 for best gelato in Rome, simply because it doesn't stand out to me. Sorry I know this will shock the die-hard Carapina-lovers. I just don't think about making side-trips to go there and have a flavor I love or try a new one. But it is very excellent gelato and really one of the few good ones in the Campo dei Fiori area. Definitely worth it if you find yourself here. Via dei Chiavari, 37.
I'd read about Gelateria Alberto Pica while researching gelato in Rome, and knew they were one of the famed "old-fashioned" gelateria, being around in Rome before the new "artisanal gelato" craze took over Rome.
In fact, Alberto Pica was known among Romans to have some of the best gelato in Rome, in particular their unique flavor: gelato di riso, or rice gelato.
You will either love the rice gelato or not. I got mine with cinnamon (they serve it with and without), and I absolutely loved it. It reminded me of rich, milky Greek rice-pudding. But that's not all. Their pistachio (one of my barometers for good gelato) was superb, creamy and nutty, as it should be.
It really is an old-fashioned Roman place to get gelato: it's actually a bar and pastry shop, with a few tables outside. As with most bars in Rome, sitting down usually costs a bit more than standing or getting it to go.
The bonus? There is even a little bench outside, so you can sit down without paying extra. Buon appetito! Via della Seggiola, 12. Closed Sunday.
If you happen to be in this part of Monti neighborhood, il Gelatone gelateria is an excellent option for gelato.
I don’t easily find green mint chip gelato in Rome, but they have it here and even though it's a bit too bright green (not entirely natural), it’s creamy and divine. Via dei Serpenti 28.
Nope, Frigidarium is not artigianale.
But yes, it's creamy and yummy. And if you happen to be on this side of Piazza Navona, it's a nice break in summer. Just expect massive crowds and lots of tourists. Via del Governo Vecchio, 112.
Tre Scalini is not a gelateria per se.
It is a bar/café, and it’s right on Piazza Navona so a pretty touristy spot. But just because something is touristy does not mean it’s bad.
There is only one thing to get here: the chocolate tartufo.
I always get mine inside, standing at the bar (sitting on Piazza Navona and having one of these will cost you dearly). And I always share it with at least one other person.
It’s not entirely made of gelato, but has layer upon layer of varying smooth, creamy, crunchy, crispy, cold and melty chocolate things.
And a surprise in the middle.
Let’s just say that if you are a chocoholic, you must have this. Piazza Navona 30-35.
Wait, isn't this some of the best gelato in Rome: Fassi, Giolitti, Gelateria della Palma? And how about Grom and San Crispino?
I don’t want to be negative about any gelato but those gelaterie to me are over-rated.
Fassi (also called "Il Palazzo del Freddo") are reputed to be the first Sicilian gelateria in Rome. The gelato is fine but missing a dimension. Giolitti has been an icon for gelato in Rome for decades but I just don’t love it. It's also a chaotic scene there. Della Palma is worth going into, to see the mountains of gelato, and even the rest of the shop which is like a candy bazaar. But the gelato there is just ok.
The following gelaterie indeed (presumably) make fresh gelato from scratch. But that doesn't mean I love them:
Grom? I don’t understand why this is so popular. It’s an international chain (I just saw one in New York), and apparently very popular. I tried four different flavors, each one more banal than the next.
San Crispino...well I used to think they had the best gelato in Rome. Sorry but no longer. The gelato there is still good, but with such amazing and inventive places as Fatamorgana, Il Gelato di Claudio Torce, Gelateria del Teatro, I no longer seek out or even think much about San Crispino. And now that I know better, I find them over-priced for what you get. And they got a little too full of themselves, no longer allowing tastes, and with staff much less friendly than before.
I've included in this map the ten gelaterie named in my 10 Best Gelato in Rome list above. I also added some of the other good places for gelato in Rome (you can view the two lists separately.)
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