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The Best Gelato in Italy


Photo: Tourists and locals enjoy gelato at Gelateria Giolitti, Rome, Italy.

Italy is a famous travel destination. Yearly, tourists flock to Italy to pay tribute to its remarkable art — carefully preserved through the years. Many come for the breathtaking sights alone — stunning buildings in their rustic beauty, romantic gondolas and historic churches and museums.

However, Italy holds another lure that is not quite as popular as its renowned art. Visitors always rave about the Italian gelato. Gelato is Italian ice cream, but it is different from ice cream. Gelato is made from whole milk, sugar, eggs, and flavouring. No gelato is sugar-free so be sure to remember that every gelato intake is also sugar intake.

Photo: Gelateria Giolitti has over 70 flavours and is considered one of the best gelaterias in Rome.
In Italy, gelato is very popular with the locals and tourists. In fact there are many gelateries around the city — stores that specialise in gelato. Many cafes sell gelato but there are some places that actually produce their own gelato. Others get it from small Italian gelato factories. As with all products, there is a good and bad side. Not all homemade gelatos are made the same; some use the freshest and finest ingredients while some places use commercial mixes. To distinguish quality gelato, be sure to look for these signs: produzione propria (homemade – our own production), nostra produzione (our production) and produzione artigianale (production by craftsmen).

Gelato’s popularity is unparalleled in Rome. San Crispino (Via della Paneterria 42, Rome, Italy) is touted to have one of the best gelato in Rome. They have a wide range of flavours to choose from but pistachio is supposed to be their specialty. Even non-pistachio fans would surely love this particular flavour. San Crispino is also known for the pureness of their gelato as there are no whipped creams or chocolate sauce. The owners believe that gelato should not be mixed with any special mixture to preserve its pureness. Their gelatos are served in a simple cup with a plastic spoon only.

However, the most famous place for gelato is the Gelateria Giolitti (Via degli Uffici del Vicario 40, Rome, Italy). Originally opened in 1800, it has since become a institution for locals, tourists and even the late Pope John Paul II was a regular customer. If you do not speak Italian, you need not worry. Signs naming the gelato usually include pictures of the main ingredients so it should be easy to figure out what the flavours are. A simple point almost always gets you the flavour of your choice. If you have a hard time choosing from their delectable displays, you can try several of there 70 flavours. Even small cones of gelato usually have two flavours. Fruit flavours are especially popular during the summer. The limone (lemon) and melone (melon-cantaloupe) are refreshing favorites.

Prices for gelatos are usually based on the number of gusti (scoops). You can order per cone (cono) or per paper cup (coppa). In most places, you can have fresh whipped cream on top (panna) but there is an extra charge for this. Be sure to eat quickly as gelatos melt extremely fast. Most gelateries have no tables and chairs. The custom is to eat your gelato while strolling and enjoying the sights along the streets.


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