It's a well-known fact that Rome is on the top of every stomach's must-visit list. Afraid of filling up on bucatini alla amatriciana or carciofi alla Romana and not having room left for Rome's not-to-be-missed gelato? Fear not! Check out what we think are the Eternal City's best gelaterie and our tips for finding - and devouring - your stomach's gelato soul mate.
Tucked in the heart of Rome's Centro Storico, and just a few steps away from the Pantheon, lies the delectable gelateria Giolitti. Be prepared to fight for your place in the queue as Giolitti is perpetually packed with school children out for their daily fix, dapper politicians (the Italian Parliament is down the street) and wide-eyed tourists. The dizzying variety of homemade gelato is overwhelming, so trust us on this one and choose a fruit flavour like pesca (peach), pera (pear) or fragola (strawberry) - or even better, all three.
Lovers of creamy and rich gelato should head to Old Bridge. This closet-sized gelateria is situated opposite Vatican City. Don't be fooled by its English name - this is no tourist trap (although the dozens nearby definitely are!). Flavours like bacio (mix of hazelnut and chocolate), stracciatella (chocolate chip) and caffe make the customary long wait worth it.
If your love of gelato means you're willing to risk being crushed among throngs of tourists at the Trevi Fountain, San Crispino will reward you for your courage. Try pistacchio, nocciola (hazelnut) or the adventurous zenzero e cannella (ginger and cinnamon). San Crispino's gelato is so amazing it'll drown out the tourist hubbub - just be sure to stay out of elbow's reach before tucking in!
Some tips for a newbies in Rome:
- Be assertive. Romans are shameless queue-cutters - that is, of course, if you're lucky enough to find any queue at all! Fight your way to the front of the mob by flashing a smile and repeating scusate (excuse me).
- Look for a sign saying 'artigianale' or 'produzione propria'. This indicates the gelateria's fare is homemade and therefore yummier.
- Never agree to go halvsies and share a gelato. You'll only regret it.
- Bring a spoon. The miniature, neon-coloured spoons provided are no match for fast-dripping gelato.
- When in doubt, use the oft-used Italian justification for a gelato after eating a big meal: 'Prendo un gelato per digerire'- the convenient excuse that gelato aids in digestion.
For more info on Rome, check out our latest Rome City Guide.
This article was refreshed in June 2012