The Rome Guide
For all its mythic history—about 2,800-years’ worth—the Eternal City has a way of making all who visit it feel like they’ve discovered something entirely their own, be it a local trattoria with out-of-this-world cacio e pepe or a famous Caravaggio in a seemingly average church (rule of thumb: walk into every church you come across, you never know what can be found inside). And while so many culture-rich European cities require rigorous touring, Rome’s distinct neighborhoods are best explored by simply strolling around (navigating the cramped cobblestone streets by car is more trouble than it’s worth), as so many of its key sites sneak up on you in easily accessible piazzas. For especially meaty landmarks—the Vatican and the Colosseum in particular—a private guide guarantees you get to see as much or as little as you wish: Your hotel will help with booking or you can DIY by using a touring outfit—we like this one, which employs many local art history students as guides.
Then there’s the food. From teeny mom-and-pops to trendy newcomers to slick hotel-backed cafés—arguably some of the best spots to stop for aperitivo with a view—a good meal is easy to come by in this part of the world, though there are some standouts, many of which are covered in this guide. Note: Though Naples gets all the pizza glory, Roman-style pies are crispier, more varied in terms of toppings, and just as exceptional, so feel free to sample with abandon.
Bar Gelateria Alberto PicaVia della Seggiola, 12, Centro Storico | +39.066.868.405
This nondescript-looking gelato joint in Centro Storico is easy to miss—but don't. For fans of rice pudding, try Alberto Pica's gelato version of the treat. Photo: @signemeirane
CiampiniPiazza di S. Lorenzo in Lucina, 29, Campo Marzio | +39.066.876.606
Ciampino has roots dating back to 1941, which means they've had generations to perfect their gelato. The old-school café uses organic milk and eggs, and many of the flavors are loaded with fresh fruits. One of their specialities is candied chestnut—but regardless of your personal flavor preference, put it in a waffle cone with Ciampino's whipped cream.
Come il LatteVia Silvio Spaventa, 24/26, Ludovisi | +39.064.290.3882
One of the more Instagrammable gelato shops, Come il Latte's walls are lined with old-fashioned milk bottles, the floors are black-and-white tiled, and their flavors are handwritten on a chalkboard menu. They pride themselves on making super fresh gelato daily, and on their ingredient sourcing, which draws from around the world: vanilla from Madagascar, pistachio from Sicily (mixed with ricotta and white chocolate in one flavor and oranges in another), cinnamon from Ceylon (cinnamon cream is counted as a specialty, and there's also a pear sultanas variation), and so on. Don't feel like you have to be adventurous with your flavor choice, though; Come il Latte does the classics right.
FatamorganaVia Roma Libera, 11, Trastevere | +39.065.803.615
Fatamorgana's natural ice creams are made without any artificial coloring, thickeners, or preservatives, resulting in a consistency that is thick, ultra creamy, and slightly fluffy. The menu (bordering on overwhelming) offers some of the most inventive flavors in Rome, all of which are gluten-free. Look for the basil, walnuts & honey and Syrian pistachio–and thank us later.
Fior di LunaVia della Lungaretta, 96, Trastevere | +39.066.456.1314
Not just another gelato shop: Fior di Luna is meticulous when it comes to its all natural recipes. The seasonal flavors are a must (try the light, perfectly sweet persimmon if it's available); the staff also stocks some salty snacks on the back shelves. The entryway is covered in greenery making it easy to miss if you're strolling by. Although it's tiny, there's a small counter where you can perch for an afternoon respite from walking.
Gelateria Dei GracchiVia Dei Gracchi, 272, Prati | +39.063.216.668
Although it’s somewhat removed from Rome’s dense center, this Prati gelateria’s reputation for being one of the best in the city can draw lines (which are never unreasonable). Ultra-fresh ingredients are used to create next-level flavor combinations like green apple and mint, ricotta and pear, and eggnog, rum, and marsala. The classics (think: chocolate and espresso, pistachio) are great here, too.
GiolittiVia degli Uffici del Vicario, 40, Centro Storico | +39.066.991.243
Giolitti is Rome’s OG gelato shop: Founded more than a century ago, and still owned by the same family, and the café’s historic Centro Storico outpost is perched between the Pantheon and the Italian Parliament. Of course, the classics are excellent here—there are dozens of flavors, but you really can’t go wrong with a few scoops of chocolate or pistachio to go.
Il Gelato di San CrispinoVia della Panetteria, 42, Trevi | +39.066.793.924
Located not too far from the Trevi fountain, some would say the gelato here is among of the best ice cream in the world. Obsessively made from start to finish, the product here is too sacrosanct even for cones—don’t ask for one, they won’t have it—and flavors rotate seasonally. There’s another outpost, the original, located at the Basilica of San Giovanni.