Food Tours Rome – Local Aromas

A Quick Guide to Italian Gelato

  • Home
  • All
  • A Quick Guide to Italian Gelato
  • Home
  • A Quick Guide to Italian Gelato

How to Spot Real Gelato in Rome

Gelato is a year-round indulgence in Rome, but with the rising summer temperatures, gelato season really kicks off. You’ll notice gelaterias popping up on every corner of the city. Unfortunately, many of these ice-cream shops serve poor imitations of real Italian gelato, opting for concoctions of powders, colorings, and flavorings to save time and increase profits. So, how do you know what’s good and what’s not? Check out Local Aromas’ handy guide to finding authentic gelato in Rome.

Watch First: Foodie Sisters in Italy on Authentic Gelato

Before diving into the details, watch Foodie Sisters in Italy, Benedetta and Valeria, as they explain what good Italian gelato looks like.

Tips for Spotting Real Gelato


Fake gelaterias prioritize high foot traffic locations to lure tourists, often investing more in their prime positions than in the quality of their gelato. Real gelato shops, however, are often tucked away down smaller side streets, away from the main tourist paths. Just like when searching for authentic dining spots in Rome, a short detour from busy roads can lead you to gelato gems offering value and excellence.


Many gelaterias use vivid colors to attract customers, but this is a red flag for fake gelato. Natural ingredients produce natural colors, so look for muted, earthy tones, especially in flavors like pistachio. Check for seeds and chunks of real fruit and steer clear of anything unnaturally bright (like blue!). Real gelato uses fresh, seasonal ingredients, so the flavors should also change with the seasons.


Authentic Italian gelato is slowly churned, incorporating less air and resulting in a dense texture. This gives it a weighty, thick, and creamy appearance. Fake gelato, made with artificial powders, is typically fluffier and lighter due to the whipping process. The chemicals used keep fake gelato puffed up and prevent deflation, so be wary of towering mountains of gelato topped with extravagant decorations. Real gelato usually stays below the level of the container and has a simpler appearance.

Indulge in Authentic Gelato

Though we include a gelato stop in many of our food tours, the special Pizza and Gelato Tasting Tour in Rome is a must-try for any gelato lover. And if you’re visiting Italy during the summer, don’t miss out on granita, a refreshing Italian ice dessert that’s perfect for beating the heat.

Join Our Community

For more authentic and traditional Italian experiences, join our Community Casa Local Aromas and immerse yourself in the true essence of Italy.

Subscribe to our YouTube Channel and check out our food and wine tours and cooking classes in Rome, Florence, and Venice!