The Best Gelato in Rome

In Italy, a land of such strict culinary customs that sprinkling Parmesan on your pizza is practically a crime, only one food is excepted from the no-eating-while-walking rule: gelato.

On warm evenings, Rome’s locals stroll the cobblestoned streets, cones and cups in hand.

However you eat it, gelato means Italian tradition–one that differs from industrial, American-style ice cream. Gelato contains less butterfat and less air and comes 10 degrees warmer.

About 2,000 gelaterias exist in Rome. Most use additives, thickeners, and synthetic flavors–yes, even those that call themselves artigianale (artisanal).

To gauge a gelato’s quality, ask to see a list of ingredients, says Claudio Torcè, the mastermind behind one of the city’s best gelaterias. “Count how many additives there are. Because true gelato doesn’t have a single one.”

Torcè’s Il Gelato features creative concoctions like black sesame and chili-and-chocolate.

Book your next trip with Peace of Mind
Search Trips

Natives also flock to Fatamorgana, where all-natural flavors include combinations such as pear and Gorgonzola.

For molto rich gelato, head to Come il Latte, whose name (“like milk”) says it all–fresh cream accounts for two-thirds of each scoop. Top off your Sicilian pistachio with melted chocolate or zabaglione-flavored whipped panna (cream).

This piece, written by Amanda Ruggeri, first appeared in the April 2014 issue of National Geographic Traveler magazine. 

Read This Next

Battle to control America’s ‘most destructive’ species: feral pigs

How coffee can help forests grow faster

The forgotten fossil hunter who transformed Britain’s Jurassic Coast

Go Further

Subscriber Exclusive Content

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet