Update, April 2018: In a huge blow for Rome’s gelato-lovers, Carapina’s Rome location has permanently closed. (You can still find Carapina in its original home of Florence, if you go). But don’t worry—you still have lots of other delicious options for where to find the best gelato in Rome! For the sake of
salivating nostalgia, I’m leaving the post below as is.
You can never get enough of gelato in Rome. That’s a very good thing, since these days, there seems to be a new gelato shop opening every couple of months. And not just a new gelato shop. But a new real gelato shop.
What’s a “real” gelateria, you say? Well, the vast majority of Rome’s gelato shops spoon out industrialized junk, whipped up from a lovely conglomeration of synthetic thickeners, chemical flavors, and air. (Remember, friends, real gelato should not look like a cloud, and it should not be brighter than your sunburned face after a Roman holiday!). And for years, those who wanted top-notch, non-fake gelato had to seek it out, especially in the center, where such shops were few and far between.
I know that might seem surprising. Most guidebooks (and many websites) wax lyrical about central spots like San Crispino, Giolitti or Gelateria del Teatro. But trust me. Those places have seen their day.
Instead, head to the newest contender for the “best gelato in Rome” title, also smack in the middle of the centro storico: Carapina.
The shop opened in May around the corner from Campo dei Fiori. Originally from Florence, where it earned a reputation as one of the finest gelato shops in the country, it doesn’t make the gelato in Florence and then ship it to Rome (like many others do). Instead, the gelato is made in fresh, small batches right here in the store. There are no preservatives, no synthetic chemicals, and no thickeners.
And, of course, flavors change depending on what fruit and other ingredients are in season. Result: gelato that bursts with flavor. On a recent visit, I found myself blurting out, just like a kid from a Willy Wonka factory tour, “The persimmon tastes just like persimmon! The chestnut tastes like chestnut!” Which is, of course, how it should be — but often isn’t.
How does Carapina compare with my other favorite gelato in Rome? Carapina gelato isn’t as creamy and decadent-tasting as Come il Latte. For most people, the Carapina shop is also more centrally located. The way I see it, those two things together just mean that when I want to really indulge, I’ll head to Come il Latte. But for an everyday more frequent snack, you can find me at Carapina. After all, it’s the best gelato in Rome’s center.
Bonus: Unlike most other gelaterias, Carapina serves coffee and has a few small tables, too.
Carapina is located at Via dei Chiavari 37, next to the Roscioli bakery.
If you liked this post, you’ll love The Revealed Rome Handbook: Tips and Tricks for Exploring the Eternal City, available for purchase on Amazon or through my site here! I’m also free for one-on-one consulting sessions to help plan your Italy trip.