By Kalina Davis
Traveling to Rome presents such wonderful opportunities, but one thing that you absolutely cannot miss out on is the gelato. When I studied abroad in Rome, eating gelato was easily one of my favorite parts, leaving me at least five pounds heavier on my arrival to America.
Gelaterie in Rome are about as common as Starbucks are in America: at least one on every corner. Beware, not all gelaterie are created equal. Here are some tips I learned while regularly consuming embarrassing amounts of gelato for four months straight:
Picking a Gelaterie
When preparing to indulge in Rome’s gelato, I recommend doing your research beforehand. In my opinion, all gelato is good, but why settle for good when you can have great? When I first arrived in Rome, I ate at a number of gelaterie without knowing anything about them. Some were good, some were… not so good. But then I began to do some research on how to go about enjoying Rome’s gelato. I found a number of suggestions online that turned out to be delicious. And I learned to watch out for the mountainous gelato. These heaps of bright, delicious looking calories are infused with tons of preservatives to help maintain the integrity of the pile. In other words, it’s like shoving chemicals into your mouth. As I began to meet more locals, they too were helpful in recommending their favorite places to my roommates and me.
Once you find the gelateria you want to go to, the next important step is being prepared to order. Most gelaerie have a number of size options for both cones and cups. For most sizes, you will be able to pick at least two flavors, so find a couple mouthwatering choices to order. Don’t be afraid to try new and mysterious flavors – you may find your next favorite! From my experience, most gelaterie workers speak decent English, so if you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask. Always try to speak the local language before resorting to English. Most people will appreciate your attempt to speak their language. And now a dose of Italian language lessons. When you decide what size and flavor(s) you want, you can tell the gelaterie worker something like this: Posso avere una coppetta (o un cono) piccolo con pistacchio e cioccolato? Translation: May I have a small cup (or cone) with pistachio and chocolate? After you order your flavors, the worker may ask you if you want whipped cream or panna. Once you have paid, your gelato is ready to be devoured.
My Personal Favorites
During my time in Rome, I definitely acquired a few favorite gelaterie. When the semester was coming to a close, my American friends and I wanted to pay one last visit to our favorite places. Instead of the typical pub crawl, we decided to go on a “gelato crawl,” stopping at a number of gelaterie in one night. Although I felt quite sick afterwards, it was so worth it. Here is a list of the places we went to along with a few others:
Frigidarium: This gelateria is located conveniently between Piazza Navona and Campo de’ Fiori, allowing you to enjoy your gelato as you walk through the beautiful squares. Frigidarium has an array of delicious flavors, and you can even have your gelato dipped in a chocolate shell at no extra cost!
Gelateria Oldbridge: This gelateria is located in the Vatican vicinity, and its creamy gelato attracts large crowds during the summer months. I was recommended this gelateria by a local Roman, who claimed it was Rome’s best gelato.
Come il Latte: This gelateria is a little bit off the beaten path, located in the Repubblica/Barberini area, but it is definitely worth the effort. They offer delicious seasonal flavors, and have a mouthwatering chocolate fountain that you can choose to fill your cone with and drizzle on top of your gelato.
La Strega Nocciola: This gelateria is located within walking distance from the Spanish Steps, allowing you to get the perfect Audrey Hepburn moment from the movie Roman Holiday. I recommend trying the lavender flavor.
A few other noteworthy gelaterie:
Fior di Luna in Trastevere
Gelateria Grom near Campo de’ Fiori
Ciampini in Lucina
In order to make your visit in Rome as enjoyable as possible, I recommend having at least one serving of gelato daily. Trust me, you won’t regret it. That is, at least until you’ve stepped on the scale…
Go Travel, and Travel Fearless.
Andi Brown, Once in a Lifetime Travel
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