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Italian Desserts to Eat in Rome

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The 9 Best Sweets and Desserts to Try in Rome

Even if you don’t have a sweet tooth, it’s hard to resist the sugary delights Rome offers. From a warm cornetto at breakfast to a post-lunch gelato fix or a decadent dessert after dinner, Rome’s array of cookies, pastries, cakes, and puddings can bring a smile to your face at any time of day.

Must-Try Sweets and Desserts in Rome

Maritozzo con la Panna

A one-time staple breakfast pastry, maritozzi are not as easy to find as they once were, but if you hit the jackpot and find them for sale, don’t miss the opportunity. This sweet, soft bun, made with or without dried fruit, is split open and decadently crammed with whipped cream—a fabulous way to start your day.


The Roman breakfast favorite resembles a croissant but is made with more sugar and less butter than its French counterpart. The best cornetti are soft inside with a touch of crunch on the outside and should be eaten as fresh as possible. Buy them warm from the oven at one of Rome’s pastry shops, either semplice (plain) or filled with jam, custard, or chocolate.

Brutti ma Buoni

These delightful cookies may have originated in Prato, Tuscany, but they are easily found in Roman bakeries. The mixture of baked egg whites with hazelnuts creates a chewy, crunchy texture somewhere between a meringue and a macaron. Their unappetizing appearance gives them the name “ugly but good.”


The perfect tira mi su (pick-me-up) of coffee, sugar, and cocoa, tiramisù is one of Italy’s most iconic desserts. The creamy mascarpone pairs with a kick of caffeine for the classic version, but nowadays, you can find creative variations using fresh fruit, ginger, or even a thick layer of Nutella.

Panna Cotta

Literally meaning “cooked cream,” panna cotta is a staple on most Italian dessert menus. The texture should be light and creamy with just the right amount of ‘wobble.’ It’s usually served with fresh berries, chocolate, or caramel.

Tartufo al Cioccolato

Named after a tartufo (truffle) because of its resemblance to the prized underground mushroom, tartufo is a wickedly delicious dessert made from chocolate gelato coated in cocoa and served with a generous dollop of whipped cream.


Known to most of the world as biscotti, tozzetti is the Roman term for these hard, twice-baked cookies studded with nuts (also called cantucci in other parts of Italy). Order tozzetti at the end of a meal with a sweet wine such as passito or vin santo and dip them in to soften before devouring.

Crostata Ricotta e Visciole

This traditional cake is a Roman Jewish recipe consisting of a pastry case enclosing layers of airy, sweetened ricotta and a sharp, sour jam made from a type of black cherry called visciole. While it can be found throughout Rome, for the best, most authentic version, head to the Jewish Ghetto area.


Any time of day is a good time for gelato. Rain or shine, locals brighten their day with a couple of scoops at their favorite gelateria. The perfect portable dessert, gelato never tastes better than when eaten in the beautiful piazzas and backstreets of Rome. Watch out for sub-standard gelato, which is sadly prevalent around the more touristic areas of the city.

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