Italy’s capital boasts some of the best gelato in the country. In Rome, you can find old-school gelataria siting beside contemporary ice-cream laboratories. You can go from Sicilian-style ice-cream cakes to chocolate cornettos to saffron-infused mozzarella semi-fredi in mere minutes. Unlike the full-fat, sugary stuff we’re used to outside of Italy, the best gelato shops use seasonal, fresh and locally-produced ingredients. But with literally hundreds of gelato shops to choose from, where do you begin? If you’re looking for the best cold stuff in the city, we can help. Here are seven of the best gelato shops in Rome.
Where to find the best ice cream in Rome
Fiordiluna’s luxurious gelato comes in quirky flavours like ‘chocolate with Sichuan’ and ‘custard with cookies’, as well as all the classics like stracciatella and strawberry. Aldo, the owner, uses high-quality ingredients from smaller-scale producers, which means the gelato here is always seasonal and fresh. He also puts anyone who works here through a rigorous training course, so you can guarantee it will always be a top-notch scoop.
Inside the interiors are flamboyant and kooky, with orange chairs and huge flower power murals on the wall. There isn’t a huge amount of seating, so it’s best to enjoy your cone sitting under the cypress trees outside. The gelateria is also conveniently located in trendy Trastevere. Aldo opened up shop over 30 years ago and it’s been one of Rome’s favourite gelato spots for just as long.
Gelato pioneer Simone Bonini opened the first branch of Carapina in Florence in a bid to shake up the gelato industry. The Roman outpost is every bit as good. The emphasis here is on seasonal and fresh gelato, created with natural production methods. Bonini is particular about using local products too, with milks and eggs from Tuscany and fruit from across Lazio. That’s why you won’t find any peach gelato in October. Bonini is a creative at heart, flavours vary from the classical to the more unusual (parmesan gelato anyone?)
Inside, Carapina is modern and elegant, with scandi-inspired furniture and oft-Instagrammed inspirational quotes lining the walls. It’s not only ice cream for sale either. Everything you see is available to buy, from the fresh pasta and artisanal passata lining the shelves to the furniture you sit on.
The gelato at Brivido will leave you happily satisfied and with zero feelings of shame because it’s all-natural, with vegan and sugar-free options too. You’ll find it in the former working-class Testaccio neighbourhood, which was once best-known as Rome’s butchery district. Today it’s one of Rome’s most popular foodie destinations, so it follows that they’re good at gelato here too.
You won’t find bright coloured mounds of gelato here since the ingredients are all-natural, with no artificial colouring, sweeteners or preservatives. There’s a remarkable range of vegan gelato, which you can enjoy topped with vegan chocolate and vegan whipped cream. It’s also one of the few gelataria in the city-owned and run entirely by women.
This place is a local institution. It’s one of the oldest gelato shops in Rome, founded back in 1880. Fassi is conveniently located near Stazione Termini too, so if you’re taking the train into Rome you should hotfoot here. Unlike most gelataria in Italy, which tend to be hole-in-the-wall or crowded single-fronted shops, Fassi is set in an enormous palazzi. There’s plenty of seating inside too, in an old-school ice cream parlour style.
Ice cream here is served in a cone or in a Sicilian-style Brioche. For something a little different, you could also opt for one of their semifreddi like the famous sanpietrini – slabs of semi-frozen cream covered in chocolate and shaped like Rome’s famous cobblestones. While you’re waiting, you can also take a look at their historic gelato-making equipment.
If you think this ochre-hued gelato shop looks familiar, that’s because it is. It featured in Eat, Pray, Love (book and film), and there’s a never-ending queue at both locations to prove its celebrity status. That doesn’t dampen the gelato experience – it’s still one of the best in Rome. This is the place to come for traditional flavours, like crema, made with eggs, sugar, milk and honey or Sicilian lemon.
Sure, it’s pricier than most gelato shops in Rome. It is a little stuffy too, with gelato covered by large silver cloches. And even though you’re only allowed to try one flavour with a small, it still made the top seven. It tastes that good.
Just don’t try to order it in a cone here. In fact, they often don’t even sell them here. At Il Gelato di San Crispino they believe it detracts from the flavour.
This is a real grab-and-go type of establishment, with a strict no-lingering policy. The tiny red-and-white tiled gelataria is crammed full all day, every day, with an inevitable queue spilling into the street too. Located in upmarket Prati, it’s the perfect pit-stop if you’ve spent all day exploring the labyrinths of the Vatican City.
The line-up of flavours goes well beyond the usual suspects – think dark chocolate with apple and orange peel. The gelato here is some of the best in Rome, if not the world but most people come for the signature bonbons. The nut-filled balls, usually made with hazelnut, pistachio and almond, are dipped in dark chocolate and rolled into more nuts.
Mirella Firumanò set up her laboratory-style gelateria back in 1997. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but the crowds will tell you you’re onto something special. There’s nothing old-school either, even the classics have been pimped up to perfection.
Mirella is an expert in savoury gelato too, which has taken the city by storm in the last decade or so. If you’re dubious, this is the place to pop your cherry. Some of the best include a cardamom-based Afghan inspired gelato, a Persian-inspired saffron and rose water number and orange blossom honey. Surely this is what heaven looks like?