The Most Delicious Gelato in Rome’s Center

Carapina, home to some of the best gelato in rome!

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.

Carapina gelateria in Rome, home to the best gelato in Rome's center
Carapina sells other specialty foods in the shop, too

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.

Carapina gelato in Italy, home to the best gelato in Rome's center
It was only this quiet because it was December. Just wait until spring

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.

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  1. Amanda, I wanted to know what Gelato shop you would recommend for my family. We are stopping in Rome on a cruise. We are on a self guided, mad-dash, marathon trip. Colosseum in the morning, Trevi, Pantheon and Plaza Navona AND then Vatican before we RUN back to the train to RUN back to our ship. I know it is crazy and NOT the way to see Rome, but that is all we have. So, around any of those sites, what shop would you recommend?

    1. Hi Robin! I have to say, I love that in your mad-dash day you are still prioritizing gelato. Right on! 😉 Given where you’ll be, I’d say Fatamorgana, but the Prati location — it’s just moved and is at Via Leone IV, 50, right near the Vatican walls. Let me know what you think, and enjoy!

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