Gelato is an institution in Italy and many Italians male & female, old & young, summer or winter, have a daily gelato. Tourists of course want to experience this Italian delight too and this is the reason for so many bits of web advice.
There is gelato and gelato, so you need to be sure you are getting artigianale gelato - artisan crafted. Avoid all those vivid colours and containers piled high with lots of decorations and go for the natural products hand made in small quantities to guarantee freshness and quality.
These are my top suggestions for a really good gelato in Rome.
1. Fatamorgana - in Monti and Trastevere.
Their gelato is fresh, smooth, of good consistence, tasty and creative. They have such a wonderful variety of flavours that you want to return again and again. In 2014 their Trastevere gelateria was our regular stop and this year we went to the Monte shop especially to once again experience top quality gelato.
We highly recommend the fennel, honey & licorice, the grape and nuts, the green tea and the coconut.
2. Gelateria del Teatro - near Piazza Navona
This very well rated gelateria is nicely situated with some old stairs beside the shop which become a seating area for happily licking customers. This place is so busy that they ask you to take a ticket at the door and to have the correct change ready to pay. The wait is well worth it because the quality is excellent and the variety is huge. That is, in fact, your biggest problem, making up your mind which flavours to have before your number is called.
We fully recommend peach & lavender, limone, and zenzero (ginger)
3. GROM - inside Termini Station
Recommendations are almond nougat and salted caramel. Both had good sized pieces of the nougat or caramel in the gelato which gave nice flavour bursts.
4. Gelateria Valentino - near Trevi Fountain
This gelateria has a long history and the husband and wife team running it have a wonderful quiet rapport with the clients. The quality of the gelato was very pleasing and we enjoyed this experience.
Recommendations - the passionfruit was 'to die for' and the Oreo and tiramisu were both perfect.
5. Il Gelato di San Crispino - near Trevi Fountain
San Crispino also has a tradition behind it, which was further enhanced by the success of the book 'Eat, Pray, Love' by Elizabeth Gilbert and the movie of the book starring Julia Roberts.
We were the only people in the shop when we were there and the overall experience was passive - not a lot of interesting flavours, ordinary service and no charm. The photos tell the story!
Recommended are caramel & meringue, honey and the ginger & cinnamon.
We taste tested these five gelaterie in three quick visits to Rome this year. Previously we have been to another well recommended gelateria - Il Gelato Fior di Luna in Trastevere. I would rate it above San Crispino.
I still remember the delicious lingering taste of their licorice gelato.