This has to be one of the most useful signposts in all of Rome, communicating two things every tourist needs to know: How to get to the airport and how to get to the gelato.
Giolitti doesn’t really need a sign; within a hundred yards of the place you’ll notice that most of the people you pass are holding cones or little cups piled with ice cream. Just keep going to where they are coming from, and you will find it.
Now, a warning: A visit to Giolitti on a warm Saturday afternoon in early spring may require a little mental preparation, and physical, too. Because there will be hordes of people, locals and tourists, crushing into the shop and spilling out of it, and you will have to stand firmly in line, first to pay and then again for your reward, and finally you will have to force your way out of the place, all the while balancing some very precious cargo. Hold your ground!
I chose pistachio and crema (sweet custard) and Charity, a friend who calls Rome home these days, had pistachio and chocolate. It wasn’t exactly transcendent, but it was very good, and certainly better than most of what is sold here, in spite of what you may have heard: Roman gelato is like pizza in New York or croissants in Paris, which is to say universally praised but frequently disappointing unless you know where to go. Ubiquity in no way equals quality.
Giolitti is a big, bright, boisterous, old fashioned space, a far cry from those other temples of gelato, San Crispino in Rome and Grom of northern Italy (and Paris and New York). These two make, in my opinion, a better product, but going to Giolitti is an experience, and sometimes that’s half the fun.
I think Charity would agree:
Giolitti Via Uffici del Vicario 40, Rome, +39 (06) 6991243, website