The Sweet Tastes of Rome

Dispatches from the Road, Food & Wine, Italy — By on October 6, 2010 at 3:00 pm

By Brittany Gowan, LG Foreign Correspondent

Italy is a country for romantic vistas, ancient landmarks, excellent wine, flavorful cuisine, and for me, sweets. I studied abroad in Rome three years ago and came back this September to visit my brother who is studying here now. From the moment I stepped off the metro and onto the city streets, all I could think about were those addictive Italian sweets. I searched out my old favorite spots and explored some new additions. Here are the best spots to get your sweet fix:

Della Palma Gelato di Roma offers over 100 flavors of gelato (Italian ice cream) which range from refreshing mango to rich tiramisu. For 2.50 euro you can get 3 flavors, which will satisfy most people. Located very close to the Pantheon, it is a perfect place to get your gelato fix before admiring Piazza Rotonda and the incredible Pantheon. The wide variety of flavors will have you writing the address down for future visits. Try sampling the biscotto, mousse millefoglie, nutella, and cappuccino. If you get a cone, take one of the brightly colored little spoons too because they’re half the fun.

Giolitti is the oldest and one of the most well known cafe and pastry parlors in Rome. Warm wood walls and countertops give it old world charm, while knowledgeable bartenders, experienced gelato servers, and an inviting, wise looking cashier make it a very comfortable experience. Via Uffici del Vicario, 40.

Alla Scala Gelateria is a tiny gelato shop in Trastevere where you can get a little more gelato for your euro. On your way to seeing Santa Maria basilica, try their mint gelato for a quick treat. Piazza della Scala, 51.

Caffe San Cosimato, serving pastries and gelato, allows locals to mix with tourists in a covered outside seating area that looks out onto the Piazza San Cosimato market. The interior is modern but the service is authentically Roman. The waitresses are fast and efficient yet approachable. Venture off the tourist track to this place for a relaxed break from sightseeing. Piazza San Cosimato, 61-62.

San Crispino is unbelievably excellent. Gelato seekers must plan a stop at this shop. Flavors correspond with whatever fruits are in season. Amazing pomegranate gelato can be offered in the fall. Their creativity is inspiring and products never disappointing. San Crispino’s signature flavor is crema, a basic white Italian ice cream, mixed with Sardinian honey. This combination is outstanding and will leave visitors gelato changed. Via della Panetteria, 42.

After feasting on various sweets and experiencing a full force sugar rush, I’m usually thirsty and begin to crave some H2O. Luckily, there isn’t a better place to need a water break.

The water, which continually flows from the many public fountains, is creditably delicious. I find myself looking for as many waterspouts as sweet shops. Drinking the Roman variety spurs a rebirth of appreciation. Roman water is sweet in its own right and always cold, impeccably clear, and remarkably refreshing. So when you see other locals, tourists, and Vatican officials filling up their water bottles or cupping their hands for a quick drink, follow their lead. A mouth-watering sweet sip awaits you.

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  • Briana says:

    Readers should also try Fassi (, which comes recommended by a lot of Romans. It’s a bit out of the way from the historic center, but not far from Termini station and thus a must for any gelato lover visiting the Eternal City. At Fassi – unlike many of Rome’s other well-known gelaterias – you’ll get lots of bang for your buck with large portions of ice cream and other delicious treats.