There is some seriously amazing gelato near Spanish Steps in Rome.
It's not obvious because the Spanish Steps is considered Rome's Shopping Zone. But what better area to stop and have a gelato break? When you've shopped till you drop, sometimes you just need a really good sugar rush.
The best gelato near Spanish Steps is spread out among four superb gelaterie (gelato shops.)
None are right at the Spanish Steps but all are worth the walk there. These constitute some of the best gelato in Rome: authentic gelato, made with real, natural ingredients.
You could do what I do, and taste test them all. If you walk between them all, you might work off at least one scoop. Maybe a half a scoop.
One of the best gelato shops in Rome is Gelateria dei Gracchi, on via dei Gracchi, in the Prati area near the Vatican. Anytime I find myself in that area, I stop at this gelateria, even if I am not hungry because hey, who needs to be hungry to have amazing gelato?
Luckily for me (and you), they have opened another branch right on via di Ripetta, a stone's throw from Piazza del Popolo, which is part of the Spanish Steps area.
This shop is a bit smaller than the original, and has fewer flavors but they always seem to have the ones I really want: Sicilian almond, dark chocolate, pistacchio di bronte, and creamy hazelnut.
Address: Via di Ripetta 261
Hours: Open daily from noon - 8pm
How to get there: From Piazza del Popolo, take via di Ripetta. It's almost immediately on your right.
The Ciampini family run several old-fashioned Roman cafés, and this one in particular has artisanal gelato.
It's not on many of the foodie blogs, but this is where Romans in the know go for their gelato in the city center. It's also not that obvious to spot.
You have to walk around the back, and enter the barely noticeable Gelateria. Then, you cannot even see the gelato, because it's kept covered in steel bins. There are not a lot of flavor options, just plain simple natural flavors, and only with what is in season (in summer, try the peach, wow.)
Address: Piazza di San Lorenzo in Lucina, 29
Hours: Open Mon - Sat 7am - 8pm, closed Sunday
How to get there: From the bottom of the Spanish Steps, go a little to your left and walk down Via Frattina. Take it all the way to the end, and cross over Via del Corso onto Piazza di San Lorenzo in Lucina. Ciampini is at the far right, but the gelateria is around the corner from the main entrance, on via del Leoncino.
Fatamorgana is probably the best gelato near Spanish Steps. They are already one of the very best in Rome. The owner and founder Maria Agnese Spagnuolo was passionate from the get-go about making all-natural gelato, sometimes with interesting and unusual combinations.
Although the standard cream, nut and chocolate flavors are always superb, it's also worth trying out some of her innovative creations such as banana with sesame cream brittle, blueberry cheesecake, or this fabulous combo of seadas (Sardinian cheese and honey dessert) and baklava (Greek honey-nut pastry):
Address: Via Laurina 10
Hours: Open daily from 9am - 11pm
How to get there: From Piazza del Popolo, start walking down via del Babuino. Via Laurina is two blocks on the right hand side.
Who would have thought this unassuming French chocolatier would have such delectable gelato along with their artisanal chocolates?
The owner of Quetzalcoatl is a lovely, friendly Frenchwoman. She and her son are professional "Maître Chocolatiers", which means masters in the art of chocolate making. The son also has a specialty in gelato making, and has a gelato laboratory (not on site), where he makes all the gelato. They added gelato to the shop in September 2014.
Like so many serious gelaterie, they keep theirs covered so it maintains the right temperature and consistency.
So it's very new, and not obvious...which is why you have me to run around and find this stuff out, and tell you about it! Just go. Have an eclair too while you're at it!
Address: Via delle Carrozze 26
Hours: Open Monday 3-6pm; Tue - Sat 10:30am - 6pm; closed Sunday
How to get there: From the bottom of the Spanish Steps, take Via delle Carrozze about 3 blocks down. Quetzalcoatl will be on the right.
If you want some gelato near Spanish Steps, and don't feel like exploring the ones above, I can highly recommend a spot that's smack in the thick of things.
Right at the beginning of via Frattina, there is a bar called Bar Frattina. This is where I used to always go for gelato before I knew about the other spots. But it's still yummy. Very creamy and rich. I think their dark chocolate and their walnut flavors are the best but hey, go try it for yourself.
Address: Via Frattina, 142
Hours: Open Mon-Sat 7am - 10pm; closed Sunday
How to get there: From the bottom of the Spanish Steps, walk a little to the left and take Via Frattina about half a block down. The bar is on your right.