Gelato. It’s the one Italian word I made sure I knew how to pronounce properly before my first visit to Rome. When I arrived I chucked my suitcase in my hotel room and then ran out the door like madwoman looking for the first gelato sign I could find–I was that serious about gelato.
If you’re like me, then planning your trip to Rome (or while you are here) you’ve been looking into where you can get the best gelato. Well, I have no answer for that, because it’s mostly all good to me. But if you’ve been searching on TripAdvisor, then the name Giolitti should already be familiar.
Giolitti’s is one of those places that gets a lot of hype, but is it worth all the hype it gets? So, I went to its very first location on Via del Vicario (there is another in EUR) to find out.
Although it opened during the lifetime of Giovanni Giolitti, the prime minister of Italy, who held office several times between 1892 and 1921, it is not named after him. Giolitti stems back to 1890 as the brainchild of Giuseppe and Bernadina Giolitti, and continued and improved with each generations (including the addition of vegetarian restaurant and ice cream production).
Giolitti is slightly tucked away on a narrow but very busy street due to the foot and vehicular traffic. As I expected, it was busy, even on a chilly day (39°F)–and that’s not just because people are die-hard gelato addicts.
Giolitti happens to be far more than a gelateria, and includes also a bar and bakery. There is even a lovely dining area for guests to rest (at a service charge).
Not only does it offer much in the way of tasty treats, its hours are quite astonishing: open daily from 7am to 1:30am, 365 days per year–so, don’t worry. Whatever the hour, whatever the day, Giolitti’s got your sweet tooth covered.
So, what did I think of it? Well, ‘m a pretty challenging customer because of my special dietary needs: gluten-free & vegan. Giolitti had me mostly covered. Let’s start with the things that weren’t so great.
Customer service is fairly important to me, and my initial experience at Giolitti’s could be described as lukewarm. Don’t necessarily expect a friendly greeting or engagement. They’re more into efficiency, which may be reasonable given the high number of customers they serve daily.
I left it up to the staff member to decide flavors for me, only stipulating that I’m lactose-free–I was already told that they did not have any gluten-free options from the cashier. I was treated very kindly by the gelateria staff, who took care to inform that the cones contained milk, and so it would be better for me to go without. Kudos to them! 😉
I was served a small cup (2.50€) of chocolate and raspberry gelato that together reminded me of Black Forest cake, which loved as a kid. So, that left me smiling as well.
So…was it tasty?
Absolutely. I enjoyed it, and think you would too.
Is it worth the hype?
Yes, definitely, even if there are some dietary limitations.
Giolitti, Via Uffici del Vicario, 40 – Roma – Tel 06.6991243
-Article & Photographs by Diedré Blake
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