When I told people I would be studying in Rome, the first comment I always received (by people under the age of 25) was “think of all the gelato you’ll get to eat!” I sure have had my fair share of gelato in the last 3.5 months! I get gelato 3-4 times a week and sometimes twice a day if I’m feeling ambitious or sentimental about leaving. Sure, gelato just translates to “ice cream” in Italian, but it is nothing like an American ice cream cone, its less creamy and more smooth, and absolutely amazing in its own way.
So here I’ve compiled a list of guidelines for getting gelato in Rome and some of my favorite places to eat to help you on your study abroad journey (or vacation) in Rome!
DO try flavors that sound a little weird! Pistachio is always a good one to try to really feel Italian, it's a very common flavor here. And it’s not as bad as you’d think!
DON’T go to the tourist traps. Learn to recognize real gelato places! Bright colors and flashy signs are usually a bad sign. Real gelato isn’t floofed up in a big display to entice you to buy it, it's behind the counter in these little metal containers built in to the cabinets. There’s a real difference!
DO try the Yogurt gelato (with honey, it’s a pretty common flavor)! It sounds kind of strange, but it’s incredibly refreshing if you aren't feeling a chocolate-based flavor. It’s not like frozen yogurt at all, I highly recommend it!
DON’T get the floofed up gelato that is all big and colorful in the windows! It isn’t as good. It’s designed to pull tourists inside by how good the gelato looks, which also means it’s probably overpriced. The stuff in the little metal containers is better!
DO get homemade waffle cones if you go somewhere that offers them! They’re definitely for people with larger appetites, but sometimes you get to try 5 flavors! And the fact that they’re homemade makes the whole shop smell like waffles… it's magical.
DON’T get a cone If it's over 75 degrees, be happy with a cup. Gelato melts like a snowman in January. Be smart.
DON’T knock the fruit gelato, don't be a chocolate snob. Fruit gelato is super refreshing on a hot day and is a lot lighter! (so you can eat more gelato, of course)
DO say yes whenever someone asks you to get gelato, you may only be/live in Italy once! Also, most cioccolato fondente and fruit flavors are totally vegan! So they’re actually considered a health product in Italy (a great excuse for more gelato).
My favorite gelato place: La Romana
The best gelato place I’ve ever experienced is La Romana, on Via Cola Di Rienzo in Prati neighborhood of Rome. No lie, this place is amazing. A kid in my program even made a video about how much he loves it. The gelato is in the little metal containers sunken into the counter, so you know it’s good! I highly recommend the Croccante della Nonna and Yogurt con Miele e Noci. They also fill the bottom of their cones with chocolate, so that’s a really nice touch!
Honorable mention: Frigidarium
Another spectacular gelato establishment, this one allows you to have your gelato dipped in chocolate or milk chocolate that hardens around the cone (it’s like magic shell)! The gelato is perfectly creamy and they switch out their flavors almost daily so you can have the best selection possible. It’s a little hole in the wall and is not too touristy at all! Although the line is always fairly long, Frigidarium is in a very cute neighborhood, so I highly recommend finding it!
Gelato is one of the many amazing Italian contributions to the world, and if you get a chance to visit Rome or elsewhere in Italy make sure to take advantage of that! Nothing beats gelato after a long day or when you need something to cool off. If I have one piece of gelato-themed advice it would be to try everything. Try new and strange flavors whenever you get the opportunity, you won't regret it! I’ve found that I won't remember the days I decided to sleep in or the sandwich I ate for lunch every day, but I will remember grabbing a gelato and sitting outside in a piazza on a nice day. It’s my favorite thing to do and I try to never take for granted the easy access to one of the world’s best desserts!
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<p>I am a Cognitive Science Major (which encompasses Cognitive Psychology, Computer Science, Linguistics, Philosophy, and Neuroscience), with a concentration in Cognitive Psychology. I am also a huge history nerd, and am more than excited to study abroad in a place packed with so much historical significance. I am the Assistant Music Director and Vice President of a philanthropic A Capella group called The AcHOOstics, and I have a very decent background in music! We sing at nursing homes and for fundraising events, and a portion of our proceeds go to the UVa Children's Hospital. Additionally, I volunteer in a program called Holiday Sharing, where we have been working for months in partnership with the Salvation Army to provide tons of food and toys to families in the Charlottesville area. I love to play piano, and I'm a big reader.</p>