Tour del Gelato – Tiber Island

20 Jun

Gelato on the island

Still plugging away on our ongoing mission to find the best gelato in the city. If you’re new to the Tour del Gelato, stop by the headquarters over at Ms. Adventures in Italy.

This one is a great little place, and from what I’ve noticed over the years, it tends to open only during the hot months of the year, so it’s the next few months or next year, folks.

There’s only one island in the Tiber River in Rome, and it’s called (wild guess) Isola Tiberina. On the island you’ll find not one, but two hospitals (Fatebenefratelli and Israelitico) as well as a pharmacy and a church that for some reason seems to be a hot spot for funerals… facciamo le corna. There’s also a bar, a restaurant that I’ve never seen open, and this teeny, tiny gelateria which is worth a stop.

I never gave this gelateria much credit because I always figured it would be touristy and overpriced, but I have fallen in love with their red-pepper dark chocolate (cioccolato piccante as they call it). People, there are actual pepper FLAKES and SEEDS in this chocolate gelato. No, not for the faint-hearted, but I love it.

Something I also like about this gelateria is that you can get waffle cones, which in my experience here in Rome aren’t always so easy to find. Usually the gelaterie offer different sizes of cake cones, but waffle cones are my favorite. I got the one you see above for just ā‚¬2 if I remember correctly, which is a pretty decent price.

There are about 10 flavors to choose from and space for about 5 people inside at once—so get ready to elbow your way up, don’t let people cut in front of you!

Ponte Rotto
Photo source
You can enjoy your gelato on the bridge, and take a look over to Ponte Rotto, the broken bridge in the river. It’s been standing since waaaay back in 179 BC (yes, B.C.!) and was originally known as Pons Aemilius (Ponte Emilio). One of its arches “broke” on Christmas Eve, 1598, in the worst flood in Rome’s history. Water rose nearly 20 meters (65 feet) above sea level, and more than 5 meters (16.5 feet) above street level.

Line at Gelateria

There can be lines coming out of this tiny gelateria but don’t let that discourage you. I’m not saying it’s the best gelato in the city (I still haven’t reviewed my favorite yet, because it’s not that close to my house) but it’s definitely worth a try. You can stop by on your way strolling from the Jewish Ghetto over to Trastevere.

I tried really hard to get a good macro shot of the pepper flakes, but for some reason my camera wasn’t cooperating—can you see the red fleck in the upper left?

Chocolate Gelato

Buon appetito, ragazzi!


17 Responses to “Tour del Gelato – Tiber Island”

  1. Giulia June 20, 2007 at 10:15 am #

    Wow, cioccolato piccante?! Never heard of that one. I can see the tiny fleck in the photo. šŸ™‚

  2. Buda Baby June 20, 2007 at 10:33 am #

    Chocolate and pepper are a divine union. Chocolate and pepper gelato? Oh. My. That sounds fantastic.

  3. Jeff June 20, 2007 at 11:09 am #

    I see it too! I think that’s one of Murhpy’s Laws. A camera will NOT cooperate if you’re trying to take a photo of something melting.

    Shouldn’t they have fixed that bridge by now? šŸ˜‰ I never get tired of jokes like that.

  4. Shelley, At Home in Rome June 20, 2007 at 11:44 am #

    Giulia: Yes, it always seemed like a weird combination to me but I have fallen in love with it. If you ever get the chance, you should definitely try.

    Buda Baby: I see that you have already been initiated into the world of cioccolato piccante. Yes, definitely try the gelato version, it is yum.

    Jeff: You’ve had this problem too? I’m sure I looked nuts. I was standing at a busy intersection waiting for the light to change, taking close up shots of my gelato. I’m sure the drivers at the red light were very amused. And, as for the bridge… you know Italy… it takes time to get these things fixed!!

  5. abe-hap June 20, 2007 at 12:13 pm #

    oh man why do you tease me so!!!!!! *drool!* ;p

  6. my melange June 20, 2007 at 1:37 pm #

    I’d love to join your tour…but I don’t find much gelato where I live. *heavy sigh* I do have one place though….I must say that when I really have a craving.,…I make my own! Nocciola is my fav! Thanks for making me hungry Shelley! šŸ™‚

  7. Isabelle June 20, 2007 at 2:04 pm #

    Oh boy, this chocolate thing just makes me dreamy šŸ˜‰

  8. Shelley, At Home in Rome June 20, 2007 at 2:58 pm #

    Abe-Hap: Sorry, I know, it looks tempting!

    My Melange: You make your own gelato? Wow! Have you shared the recipe on your site?

    Isabelle: Ha, you’ll be here soon and eating it!

  9. jessica in rome June 20, 2007 at 4:19 pm #

    A few months ago I was talking to Daniele about the Tiber River and he had no clue what I was talking about. The we once we figured out I was talking about the Tevere, we both wondered why everyone outside Italy calls it the Tiber and Italians the Tevere. What do you think? Interesting indeed..Yummy looking gelato!

  10. nyc/caribbean ragazza June 20, 2007 at 4:19 pm #


  11. Elizabeth Abbot June 20, 2007 at 8:25 pm #

    Hi Shelley,
    I was on Via Marmorata this afternoon to pick up something from the tipografia and since I had dragged my son with me, I asked where I could find the best ice cream in the area and they sent us to a new place you should check out with Calabrian ice cream, just on via Marmorata, across from the vivaio.
    The best, best, homemade panna on the top too!

  12. sandi @ the whistlestop cafe June 20, 2007 at 10:14 pm #

    Ohhh~ I got a speck of chocolate on my nose!
    So how would you say ‘hot stuff’ in Italian?

  13. John June 20, 2007 at 10:29 pm #

    Oh, my. That looks amazing.

    So little time in Rome, and so many gelaterie!

  14. Sierra June 21, 2007 at 6:35 am #

    Okay, I’ve gained 5 pounds reading your post today.

  15. J.Doe June 22, 2007 at 3:33 pm #

    That’s my all time favorite flavor…cioccolato piccante! Yummmm

  16. Mikael Paananen July 22, 2009 at 9:06 am #

    Love this place!

    I always have the Pistacchio when I’m here. It is so rich without being overly sweet. Bonus to the great surroundings and the sax player that practically lives on the bridge.

  17. Tim Finer May 2, 2010 at 6:37 pm #

    MMM! Just got back from Rome and based on this blog post, sought out and had the house special: chocolate & pistachio! Thank you, this was the best gelateria i tried.

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