Italy is famous for many things, but the food (and wine) has to be one of the big attractions. On our trip to Italy, we were determined to try as many delicious dishes as possible. On our second day in Rome, we managed to find gelato so amazing, we simply had to keep searching for the rest of the trip, to see if there was any better. By the way, gelato is the singular and gelati is plural, just in case you were wondering about the difference 🙂
When we were planning our trip to Italy, we looked at things to do in Rome. Besides the Vatican, Colosseum and many other fascinating historic sites within the centre of Rome, we wanted to visit the nearby town of Tivoli to see the famous historic Villa d’Este and nearby Villa Hadrian. When I researched how to get there, I realised it was going to involve a train, two buses and lots of walking – none of which we minded, but time wasn’t really on our side. So we hired a lovely driver named Luciano from Luciano Roma Tour for half a day – it was a smart move. Luciano was excellent, and spoke very good English. He collected us from our accommodation early and whisked us out of the bustling city, into the countryside and up to the hilltop town of Tivoli to spend time at both the villas.
After several hours in Tivoli, we headed back to Rome. Along the way, we were chatting about lunch. Luciano asked whether we would like to visit the “best gelataria in all of Roma”. I wondered whether his family or friends owned the place! We looked at each other and thought, “Why not?” Next thing we knew, Luciano had pulled up on Via Venti Settembre, and was directing us across the road to Gelateria La Romana.
There was a bit of a queue, but we didn’t mind, as that’s often a good sign. Many of those in the queue were speaking Italian, so that seemed to be another good sign. While we waited, the contents of the cake fridge kept us busy – it was something else. We ogled and salivated over the sweet treats – tortes, crumbles, profiteroles, semifreddo, pannacotta and more. It was hard to know which one was our favourite between these …
The delicious fruit crumbles on the top shelf, or the Golosa ai frutti di bosco – which is fragrant puff pastry and Chantilly cream with a fresh wild berry heart and decoration on the middle shelf, or the Golosa al ciocco biscotto – which is fragrant puff pastry and Chantilly cream with a chocolate biscuit heart and decoration on the bottom shelf.
A few steps further along, there was another fridge, containing Pinolona – which is a Chantilly cream semifreddo with cocoa sponge and a toasted pine nuts’ heart (top shelf), and Cioccocream – A refined semifreddo made with cream and cocoa cream filled with crunchy chopped hazelnuts, then decorated with delicate vanilla semifreddo tufts (bottom shelf). It was hard to resist pressing your face up against the glass to check out all that deliciousness!
We debated whether to purchase one of the cakes, but decided against it because we were there for the gelato – can’t believe we did that. One word – C-R-A-Z-Y!!!
Signs on the wall tell the story of this beautiful gelateria, which is run by the Zucchi family and was established in 1947 – we read them while we shuffled along in the line (trying to look away from the cakes). Everything at Gelataria La Romana is freshly made on the premises using traditional methods and high quality ingredients including organic milk, fresh eggs and cream, seasonal fruit pulp and organic jams. They even display a full list of ingredients on their website. Then suddenly, it was finally our turn – YAY!
All the flavours are in Italian, so ordering can be a bit tricky, but the lovely young lady serving us, named Maria Grazia, was happy to discuss the flavours in English. I opted for almond, caramel and chocolate. The Bestie had chocolate, hazelnut and vanilla. If you choose a combination which doesn’t go well together, they will sometimes offer you another option, as combining flavours can be a bit tricky.
Now, this was only the second day of our trip, so it may have been a bit early to make the call – but we quickly decided this was the BEST gelato we had EVER tasted. Every bite was more delicious than the last, and we were sorry when it was finished. We even contemplated having a second cone, but there was a queue and Luciano was waiting for us. The gelato was creamy, yet light and not overly sweet. I have to say, we tasted gelato everywhere we went in Italy – in fact, we ate it just about every day for a month, and although we enjoyed most of them, the La Romana product was by far the best gelato in all of Italy, not just Rome. Nothing else compared to it.
When we got back to our B&B, we had a look on TripAdvisor and found La Romana is rated #3 of 422 ice cream outlets in Rome, with over 2500 reviews. Not bad, eh?
The following day, we headed to the Amalfi Coast for several days. We kept thinking about the La Romana gelato so much, that when we returned to Rome, we walked 3km across the city as dusk fell, just so we could make a return visit – and have another gelato. We still didn’t try the cakes, but will definitely leave room for one on our next visit.
Thanks Luciano – visiting Gelateria La Romana was most certainly a very enjoyable experience. We will definitely return!
So tell me, which would you choose – gelati/gelato or one of those delectable cakes? … and which cake? 🙂
The Besties Do Italy series details how Seize The Day Project’s Lyndall and her long time best friend ventured to Italy to celebrate a significant birthday – sans husbands and children. Shhh, don’t tell anyone they’ve gone!
Read more posts in this fascinating series here:
Positano, you stole a little piece of my heart – Exploring Lake Como: The Greenway Walk – Eternal Rome: I only just met you, but I think I love you – Some Enchanted Evening in Venice – The journey to Cinque Terre: When things didn’t go according to plan – A trip to Villa San Michele, Anacapri – Cooking up an Italian storm in Roma – A visit to beautiful San Gimignano – A gourmet twilight tour of Trastevere – A memorable dinner on Lake Como
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