The Best Cappuccino and Gelato in Rome

Italy does so many things right, like coffee and ice cream. Where to find the best cappuccino and best gelato in Rome. (via

I’ve often wondered how Italians became ‘the’ global coffee cognoscenti. After all, no coffee beans grow in Italy. They’re imported from the tropics, then roasted, ground, and consumed in Italy in vast quantities. Similarly, the Italian love of gelato is understandable, yet how did it become a worldwide phenomenon as well?

It’s the ritual of coffee in Italy that has risen above all others. Espresso, cappuccino, americano and caffe latte. The world has embraced these as a favorite coffee rite. These may be foreign words, but they’re lovingly repeated a million times across North America every day. Here’s our guide to the best cappuccino and best gelato in Rome. We’ve done the taste-testing for you, and believe me, the pleasure was ours!


Where to Find the Best Cappuccino and Gelato in Rome

Best Cappuccino in Rome

For a coffee loving traveller, Italy is nirvana. It’s the promised land. You can go into any local Bar and have a very good espresso nearly anywhere in the country. But these two choices are our two favorites for those visiting the eternal city.

Caffe Sant’Eustachio – Fabulously located near the Pantheon and Piazza Navona, this historic Roman café dates back to the 1930s. It’s crowded at all times by locals and travelling coffee enthusiasts. The Grancaffe is a very special espresso and milk coffee. The barista prepares it behind the counter, hidden by a metal shield. This is so no one can view the creative ‘magic’. Pay first, then crowd the bar to exchange your ticket for 2 minutes of coffee drinking heaven.

La Tazza d’Oro – Also near the Pantheon, this café offers speedy delivery of excellent espresso and cappuccino at very reasonable prices. Considering its prime location in Rome, this is a pleasant surprise. The café is bigger and not quite as crowded as Sant’Eustachio. Which is great when you really need that espresso shot around 3 PM.

The famous Giolitti Gelateria near the Pantheon

Best Gelato in Rome

Giolitti – One hundred and ten years of gelato means they are doing something very right. This old-world gelateria is near the Italian Parliament and the Pantheon. It’s beautifully decorated with spacious indoor seating and outdoor tables. There are a tempting number of metal tubs of home-made gelato to choose from. You may have to go more than once to do justice to their impressive selection.

Artisanal gelato at San Crispino near the Trevi Fountain

San Crispino – A small, artisanal (‘artigianale’) gelateria near the Trevi Fountain. We found it by very fortunate accident and enjoyed the best gelati of our entire trip. The house specialty is a gelato with honey and Marsala wine. But we were tempted by their other offerings of Nocciola and Limone. Delicioso!

Italy does so many things right, like pizza, pasta, coffee and ice cream. Where to find the best cappuccino and best gelato in Rome, Italy.

Fatamorgana – This artisanal gelateria has three locations in Rome. Near the Colosseum, one near the Vatican, and one in Trastevere. Owner Maria Agnese Spagnuolo, who is originally from Puglia, is fondly referred to as the ‘gelato fairy’. All of her gelato is 100% natural and uses fresh, local ingredients.

Need to run off that gelato? Check out our top ten list of the best things to do in Rome with kids.

Gelateria del Teatro (one near Piazza Navona and near Campo de’ Fiori) – Serving up an annual rotation of 200 recipes of artisanal gelato. An emphasis on quality and freshness. This gelateria uses local and seasonal ingredients (think Amalfi lemons!), including olive oils for their cones.

best gelato in rome

Gelateria della Palma – Huge selection of gelato in this somewhat kitschy and colourful gelateria (also near the Pantheon). Della Palma is a very kid-friendly spot, with tasty gelati and other sugary treats and candies (if you need more for the road).

The Gelato Ritual

When we visit Rome, part of our vacation promise to the children is for a ‘daily holiday gelato’. This is a wise strategy to motivate tired legs and revitalize everybody with a delicious, pick-me-up treat, usually enjoyed in the afternoons. I still swear by ‘a gelato a day keeps the tantrums away’ on any family vacation we enjoy.

best gelato in rome
So many gelato flavors to choose from at Giolitti

How to Order Gelato

Ordering gelato is an orderly, defined process in Italy. Here’s the Six Step Process you need to follow.

  1. Decide on the size of cone or cup you want
  2. Decide on the flavour(s) of gelato you want to enjoy (this can be difficult!)
  3. If the gelato choices are overwhelming (they will be), don’t hesitate to ask people around you in line about which ones they recommend
  4. Pay for your gelato
  5. Order your gelato treats
  6. Mangia! (Eat)

Pin for Later

Italy does so many things right, like pizza, pasta, coffee and ice cream. Where to find the best cappuccino and the best gelato in Rome, Italy.

Photo Credits: C. Laroye, Shutterstock, the Roman Guy.

Which do you prefer – espresso or gelato? Or both? Share your comments below.





22 thoughts on “The Best Cappuccino and Gelato in Rome”

  1. I am glad you included Teatro Del Gelato as they are a bit hidden and off the beaten track. Did you mention Il Palazzo Del Freddo near Piazza Vittorio? That’s gotta be on your list next time, and if you haven’t already heard The Red Bicycle Travel Org includes Della Palma as one of its stops during their Bike Tour of Rome.

  2. I feel like you wrote this just for me!! I LOVE tiny luxuries like fine ice creams and fancy coffee drinks and it’s even better when I can combine them with some people watching and maybe some book reading.

  3. Oh wow – those are sensational shots of the gelato! Great recommendations! i wish I had known about these great spots when I was in Rome 🙂

  4. Yum! Gelato is one of my favorite things about Italy. So many yummy flavors to try and it’s so creamy and delicious. I also like to see the creative designs that often get etched into the cappuccino foam.

    1. I love the foam designs too. I could use a gran’ café about now! Thanks for your comment, Laura!

  5. I had way too much ice cream when I visited Rome! From your list, I remember going to Giolitti.. twice.

  6. Natasha Amar

    I love both espresso and gelato. And you know what’s better? Espresso flavored gelato! 😉

  7. melody pittman

    oh where was this review when i was there with my daughters years ago? we are not coffee drinkers but they both ate their weight in gelato, wanting to have 2-4 per day, which equates to a lot of money. 😉
    as for your question, definitely gelato

    1. You must plan a return trip to enjoy more gelato! I agree that it can become pricey at 2-4 per day though. 😉

  8. To me, the best gelato in Rome is actually at Grom. I can’t have an opinion on cappuccino as I am lactose intolerant and hot milk kills me!

  9. Giulia Blocal

    Hi Claudia, nice post! I’m from Rome and I like the places you mentioned, Giolitti is my favorite gelato too! I also like La Gourmandise (Monteverde hood) and Gelateria del Teatro (near piazza Navona). Regarding coffee I like Castroni (Prati hood) and any artisanal coffee shop where they toast their own blend. Perhaps next time you can try these places too! 🙂

    1. Thank you so much for your tips, Giulia! I love knowing of great places to visit on our next trip to Italy. Grazie!

  10. Fiona @ London-Unattached

    LOL I like both, but when in Rome it has to be Gelato!

    I don’t know how italians do it, but apparently Gelato has fewer calories than icecream!

    1. I’m so glad to hear that! I do love my daily gelato while visiting Rome and Italy in general. Thanks for your comment, Fiona!

  11. Awww, I wish I had known that earlier!! I was in Rome last summer… will have to go back, just for the Cappuccino!! 😀

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I’m Claudia, an adventurous mom who loves to explore the world and travel with my family. This site shares modern-mom-tested family travel sanity tips, destination advice, and inspiration to stay ever curious and create lifelong travel memories.

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