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Smart Mouth
In Rome, What's Not to Lick?

By Elise Warner
The Washington Post
Sunday, July 26, 1998; Page E04
   


The problem: Traipsing around Rome's main tourist attractions leaves visitors needing cool refreshments, in all senses of the world.

The solution: Gelateria (ice cream shops) conveniently near the city's main tourist attractions. Sure, my husband and I have fond memories of all we saw in Rome, but the city's inspired gelaterias surpassed the expectations of two ice cream addicts. Our discoveries during a recent visit:

* Cornetteria, Viale di Trastevere. Our first find. Escaping the press of body-to-body bargain hunters at the Porta Portese flea market--Rome's largest, stretching from Via Porta Portese to the Stazione Trastevere--we spy Cornetteria nearby. There we order coppas (cups) of cioccolata (chocolate) and caffe (duh) gelati and dig in. A slow smile pans over my husband's face. My smile mirrors his.

* Gelateria Pellacchia, 103/107 Via Cola di Rienzo. After a five-hour tour of the Vatican and a climb to the top of the Castel Sant'Angelo for a panorama of the Tiber and the city, we spot this neighborhood cafe. A sign assures us that the gelati is homemade. I stick with caffe and cioccolata. My husband ignores his arteries and tries a new flavor, amaretto.

* Giolitti, Via Uffici del Vicario 40. At this inviting shop near the Piazza Colonna and a short walk from the Pantheon, we gaze at more than 50 varieties of gelati. I have a medium cono of misto (mixed)--caffe, creme and pistachio; my husband tries a large cup of caramel, cherry and torrone stracciatela (egg white and hazelnuts). We virtuously refuse whipped cream.

* Gelateria della Palma, Via della Maddalene 20, off the Piazza della Rotonda. We stroll to the Spanish Steps, admire the view and the work of artists encamped there, and descend to the piazza di Spagna. Nearby, in the glamorous chrome-and-glass Gelateria della Palma, I study the avocado and "after eight" (mint) but finally choose the bacio (chocolate with nuts) and fragola (strawberry). My husband chooses zabaglione, frutti di bosco and tiramisu. Seated on a raised marble platform between two columns surrounding a palm tree, we gaze at chocolates, displayed like precious gems in a Tiffany window.

* Il Palazza del Freddo Giovanni Fassi, Via Principe Eugenio 65/67. Southeast of the Stazione Termini, close to the Piazza Vittorio Emmanuele II, we discovered the Palazza, a century-old gelati factory that serves some of the best and most varied flavors in Rome. I deliberate over riso (rice), coco (coconut) and kiwi, but opt for cioccolata bianco (white chocolate) and marzipan. My husband tries the limoni and marron glace (chestnut).

* I Tre Scalini, Piazza Navona 30. It's our last day in Rome and we're at the Piazza Navona, famous for its baroque fountains. Nearby, I Tre Scalini is famous for its tartufos: shells of bittersweet chocolate, topped by cherries and whipped cream, embracing scoops of rich chocolate ice cream. It is a fitting ending to our Roman holiday--a chocolate lover's fantasy fulfilled.

   
© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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