Gelateria del Teatro – The Best Gelato in Rome

Gelateria del Teatro

ROME, ITALY – On Via dei Coronari, a picturesque cobblestone street near Piazza Navona, a large, painted wooden ice cream cone marks the way to Rome’s best gelato. Though Rome’s most famous gelaterias like Giolitti, Grom and San Crispino can be identified by long, winding queues 25 tourists deep, it is Gelateria del Teatro that has me coming back for scoop after scoop of ice-cold ecstasy.

Gelateria del Teatro produces edible art – mind-bending gelato flavors made daily, sourced from organic local ingredients. Each bite is a Picasso, a Van Gogh, a Renoir. On any given day you can find up to 40 different flavors ranging from dark chocolate and Nero d’Avola (red wine) to garden sage and raspberry. The complex, inspired, flavors are seasonal; a crisp fall day might yield a scoop of creamy chestnut; on a sweltering August afternoon, tangy white peach. The flavors are intensely real, there’s no other way to describe the sensation that washes over the entire mouth with one tiny plastic spoonful.

The mad scientist behind Gelateria del Teatro is former pastry chef Stefano Marcotulli. He and his wife Silvia opened the gelateria in 2006, taking the traditional Italian specialty to a level of haute gastronomic genius. Together, they conceived a mission to seek out the highest quality all-natural ingredients, from sheep’s milk ricotta to 80% pure chocolate. The flavor combinations run the gamut from classic and simple to the deliciously weird.

Flavors at Gelateria del Teatro

On a warm spring day in Rome, I visit Gelateria del Teatro for the umpteenth time and find myself wavering over the rows of multi-colored tubs. It takes me a good ten minutes to narrow thirty six choices down to three. The decision-making process is excruciating. Here are some of the daily flavor choices:

  • Apple Cinnamon
  • Passion Fruit
  • Pear and Caramel
  • Sicilian Orange
  • White Chocolate and Basil
  • Lemon Pie
  • Fennel and Caramelized Almonds
  • Garden Sage and Raspberry
  • Lemon Cheesecake
  • Crunchy Sesame
  • Ginger
  • Ricotta, Almond and Fig
  • Vanilla Caramel
  • Cheese and Cherry
  • Chocolate Fondante and Nero d’Avola
  • Sicilian Wine Cream
  • Sorrento Walnut
  • Vanilla and Pine Nuts

Where does one begin?

Every time I make a foodie pilgrimage to Gelateria del Teatro, I try three different flavors. One of my favorites is “ricotta, almond, fig,” a creamy trifecta that resembles an after-dinner cheese course wrapped up into a single, perfect bite. Sometimes the gelato is wine-spiked; sometimes it’s laced with champagne. On this visit I gaze longingly at the ricotta gelato, but find the strength to resist. Time to venture into new taste territory.

Gelato at Gelateria del Teatro

I decide on white chocolate and basil, fennel and caramelized almonds, and crunchy sesame. The white chocolate and basil has a mint-green hue and subtle taste. The basil adds a bright, savory flavor, cutting the richness of the creamy white chocolate. The crunchy sesame takes me back to my childhood, when I used to suck on those sweet, individually wrapped sesame candies. The gelato is toasty, crunchy and wonderfully unique. Out of my three choices, I like the fennel and caramelized almond the best. I’m a sucker for almond anything. The fennel is the opposite of overpowering, giving the gelato an almost imperceptible hint of flowery anise. The candied almonds remind me of Sicilian street vendors and summer nights at the beach.

The  experience at Rome’s Gelateria del Teatro borders on mystical, but there is no DaVinci Code to crack when it comes to the secret of making this exceptional gelato. It’s possible to arrange a visit during morning hours to watch the masters at work, hand-crafting each extraordinary flavor.

When in Rome, take a moment to duck away from the crowded piazzas. Head down Via dei Coronari and keep your eyes peeled for the ice cream cone. There, tucked in an alleyway beside a steep stone stairway, you’ll find the almost-secret entrance to the sweetest spot in town.

Ice Cream Sign at Gelateria del Teatro

Gelateria del Teatro
Via di San Simone, 70 Rome, Italy
Telephone: 06 45474880

Posted on by Foodie International Posted in Italy

11 Responses to Gelateria del Teatro – The Best Gelato in Rome

  1. Zita

    I’m going to Rome at the end of June for a couple of days. This gelateria on my list, thanks to you. Can you tell me which sightseeings is it close? I’ve been to Rome 2 times so probably it won’t be difficult to find it! :)

    • Bas

      Piazza Navona is nearby

  2. Nagy

    Also in Rome next month. Will check it out. Thanks for the lead. Found you via Huffpo. (Loved the Noma food pics!)

  3. Michelle

    I’ll second that! Thanks for the heads up it was fantastic and one of the highlights of my last visit to Rome. Lemon Pie is amazing, so many unique flavours at Gelateria del Teatro. And such a nice chilled out location as well.

  4. Carole

    We discovered this wonderful place in 2007 and have told everyone we know not to miss it! Seems like the flavors have expanded since we were there. The thing that impressed most (besides the unbelievable flavor) was the fresh ingredients they were using. Coconuts, almonds, papaya, melons waiting there to be combined into unforgettable flavors.

  5. Jessi

    Gelato italiano, mi manchi!

  6. Fiona

    Stayed in fantastic little guesthouse above this place in July 2013. It was amazing and the gelateria was incredible. As a non ice cream lover, I found this place extraordinary and fascinating. Try ricotta, almond and fig and the Sicilian almond. One tiny scoop of each – unbelievable. Then nip across the alley to casa e bottega for a capuchinno – just perfect.

  7. Elena

    i’m italian. i know what GELATO means, and sorry, gelateria del teatro’s icecream is not what u can call gelato. i was there yesterday and is awfull, the worst i’ve ever tried. hope you con fuond a best icecream when you come back to italy.

    • Foodie International

      Ciao Elena, mi dispiace che non ti piace Gelateria del Teatro – sono stata li una settimana fa, e l’ho trovato sempre buono. Loro fanno tutto al mano, tutto biologico e il sapore di gelato e unico. Vengo spesso li con le mie amiche Italiane – anche loro dicono che fanno il gelato meraviglioso. C’é anche un’altra gelateria che mi piace in Via dei Gracchi, ma probabilmente odi anche quella! C’est la vie. :)

  8. Mary

    Zita!!! My beautiful friend! This gelateria is the best. My Roman friend Anna treated me to a ginger (zenzero) gelato there.

  9. Jessica Festa

    I love this place! The lavender flavor is especially delicious :)

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