Steer clear of lurid colours, avoid huge, overflowing mounds of gelato and look for seasonal flavours. Stick by these rules and you’ve got a good chance of enjoying decent gelato. To find the very best, go with a recommendation. These 10 tried-and-tested gelaterias serve up pure joy in every scoop.
Since opening his first gelateria in 2003, Claudio Torcè has become well-known for his innovative and experimental flavours. He was one of the first to use non-traditional ingredients such as celery, gorgonzola and habanero chilli, and his creative, all-natural approach has influenced a wave of gelato-makers across Rome. Whether it be classic strawberry, bold ginger or the expertly blended pear, port and toasted almond, Torcè nails it every time. The original location on Viale dell’Aeronautica has the most choice and is well worth the trip (take metro B to Laurentina). A recent rebrand sees the gelateria switch to fructose (which has a lower glycemic index than standard sugar), lactose-free milk and gluten-free cones. The gelato remains exceptional.
With offerings like basil-walnut-honey, yoghurt-cumin and chocolate-wasabi, Fatamorgana is well-known for its creative combinations. Embrace the unconventional and you’ll be rewarded with complex, harmoniously blended flavours. The simple classics can still be found and, as with all the gelato here, are made with top-quality ingredients that follow the seasons. Both the cones and gelato are gluten-free – owner Maria Agnese has Celiac disease – and other allergens, like milk and eggs, are clearly labelled. There are now multiple locations across town but the shop in Monti is perfectly placed for visitors to soak up piazza life while enjoying a cono or coppetta .
Fior di Luna
The retro-kitsch design of Fior di Luna in Trastevere doesn’t exactly scream artisanal, small-batch gelato. Décor aside, though, the gelato here is natural, unadulterated and consistently delicious. All the fruit sorbets (except for lemon) are made with only fruit and sugar, meaning each scoop is a concentrated essence of flavour. The shop also produces its own range of raw chocolate bars so, as you’d expect, the chocolate gelato offerings are numerous and ever-popular. Try it spiked with chilli, Sichuan pepper, figs, rum or orange, or sample the range of sorbets that showcase single-origin chocolate from locations like Peru, Venezuela and Ecuador.
Gelateria del Pigneto
With no fancy marketing – even the shop sign is barely visible – the Gelateria del Pigneto retains a strong neighbourhood vibe. Locals head to this unassuming shop for the excellent and ever-changing gelato. Flavours range from trusty stalwarts like hazelnut, pistachio and strawberry to more unusual creations such as carob, cardamom and acacia flower. Take a look at the Facebook page for snapshots into the gelato-making process and the provenance of the ingredients, as well as the occasional cry of support for AS Roma from owner Filippo Ruggieri.