Ask for the best place for gelato in Rome and 99% of the time you’ll be told Giolitti (that last 1% being the response of a tourist who you have mistaken for a knowing local). Giolitti is infamous and is Rome’s oldest ice cream parlour, founded in 1890 by Guiseppe and Bernardina Giolitti. There are two branches in Rome, but the one round the corner from the Pantheon is, not surprisingly, the most popular.
The ice cream counter is crowded with people from dawn until dusk, fidgeting anxiously in wait for their turn. The staff here are amazing – they manage the crowds like magicians, never forgetting who is next in line, keeping a cheery attitude and always taking the time to let you taste before you buy, even during busy times. The crowds may look daunting, but you won’t be waiting long; besides, you’ll need a good five minutes to browse all of the flavours and make your choice.
The flavour selection is extensive. There are around 10 chocolate flavours, from creamy hazelnut chocolate, to devilishly dark cioccolato fondente, and even white chocolate. The crema gelati continue to a range of nut flavours, sweet vanilla, fresh and light ricotta, traditional Sicilian cassata and ‘afternoon tipple’ alcohols, such as Marsala and raisin.
If you prefer a fruity affair, there isn’t a fruit that Giolitti don’t have: berries, pear, mango, watermelon, banana, lemon, peach, the list goes on.
It’s so much fun creating your own personal combination.
Giolitti’s gelati are a shining example of how different gelato is to ice cream. Gelato is so smooth and light that it is ‘spatula-ed’ onto the cones, rather than moulded into balls – just be careful it doesn’t all flop off!
Giolitti make their gelato according to a secret recipe that they have refused to share with large dairy companies. Good on them – a recipe this good is a secret worth keeping.
Giolitti not only excel in ice cream, they also make a range of amazing traditional pastries, cakes and biscuits, such as boozy baba al rum, oh-so-sweet Sicilian cassata, classic sfogliatelle pastries and crostini biscuits.
Via degli Uffici del Vicario, 40
T: +39 (0)6 699 1243
Open 7:00-01:30am daily