Is there such a thing as TOO much gelato? ~ 3 days in Rome, Italy.

After two phenomenal months of travel in South East Asia, specifically Myanmar, Bali and Sri Lanka, we are heading back to Chicago, in the U.S.

Ben’s job beckons, family awaits……

As is the way we do things, we  have purchased one way tickets to Asia, and we are now faced with a decision of some lovely choices. Where to stop en route for a few days as we make our way back?

Our bouquet of options : Paris, Amsterdam or Rome.

Paris and Amsterdam are two of our favorite cities in Europe and we have been to both of these cities many times together.  Paris is also Ben’s home “town” and Amsterdam feels like home to both of us.

Rome, on the other hand, is a city Ben has never visited, and Peta has only been there as a child. Therefore, we choose Rome for our stopover.

A direct flight from Sri Lanka to Rome delivers a whole new (short) adventure: we spend three days walking and walking, exploring and enjoying –  until our feet are killing us –  and eating until we are bursting at the seams.

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View from the patio at our Airbnb ~ that’s the Vatican on the horizon. About a 20 minute walk.

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Always nice to have hosts put out a large map. Okay, we see where we are relative to the river and where we want to walk to. That’s sufficient information for us to hit the streets of Rome.

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And here we are at the Tiber river ~ third longest river in Italy. (252 miles long.)

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Reminiscent of the River Seine in Paris.

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There is a bicycle path along the sides of the river. In summer, the banks are probably full of people.

 

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Catching the occasional sun ray through the clouds.

We have arrived from warm weather in SE Asia and we have no warm clothes, and it is mid winter in Europe. However, luck is on our side and we are blessed with temperate weather in the low fifties, pretty unusual for this time of year. I buy a sweater and a warm cap and we are all set.

Rome is a beautiful city for walking. We are not ones for tourist sites and prefer to stroll, get lost and see what comes our way.

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Quintessential Rome. One of many narrow, cobbled stone streets flanked by yellow ochre buildings.

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Ben never misses an opportunity to share the love. (Sophie this one is for you!!)

Before we get to the important topic of gelato, let’s not forget the pasta, the ubiquitous pizza and other favorites such as gnocchi (yum) and artichoke bruschetta!

One culinary surprise in Rome — the “Jewish style artichoke” which is a whole artichoke fried till crispy, leaves, heart and all..

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Love this kind of tiny place which puts out the menu for the day hand-written on brown paper. That bruschetta was delicious!!

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Bruschetta – The beauty of the bruschetta lies in its simplicity. Served with honey and slices of delectable cheese.

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Delicious bowl of hand-made pasta in a small taverna, Rome.

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Fast food in Rome means pizza to go … by the square! So many different and unusual variations as well as the classics.

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Eggplant pizza.

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Prosciutto pizza. No we didn’t eat ALL of these in the photos. But it IS fun to see the variety of options available. Love the square format.

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Love the openness of the piazzas with dramatic architectural backdrops.

We are delighted to come across an open air food market, where we buy artisanal cheeses to pack in our suitcase to take a little taste of Rome back to Chicago with us.

 

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Buckets of shiny black olives.

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Enormous variety of oils, vinegars and jams to sample. YUM!

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Hmmm which cheeses should we take back to share with Adam?

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A variety of rustic breads beckon from a small stand at the market.  Picnic material!

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The variety of fresh cheeses is staggering…

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Whether to have this for picnic NOW, or store for Chicago-consumption — that is the question! (we settle on both).

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A red bike with red chilies.

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and some beautiful and very unusual bright red tomatoes…

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Apparently it’s always artichoke season in Rome!

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Beautiful produce – radicchio and mushrooms catch our eyes…

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In Paris, we once went on a quest to find the best and most perfect croissant. Our search led us to old and new neighborhoods, sampling the goods in order to give ratings for the most crispy, the most delicious croissant, etc. Such hard work! (The winner in case you are wondering was a small café in the neighborhood Ben grew up in…).

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We indulge in cappuccino and almond croissant every morning down the street from where we were staying. As the saying goes “When in Rome, do as the Romans do….” Croissants here are stuffed with all sorts of “fillings”, donut-like.  No disrespect to Rome, but Paris has got the lead on croissants…

If Paris inspires a quest for the perfect croissant, it is appropriate for Rome to morph into empirical data collection into the perfect gelato.

Let’s turn therefore to the topic and the important question of this post, which is;

Is there such a thing as TOO much gelato???

I, Peta, did my research before we land in Rome. I have a list of names, addresses and recommendations of the best gelaterias.  We walk, we jump on buses (where payment is optional!), we visit many neighborhoods and many gelaterias.

The gelateria is a part of Italian life, especially in the summer, and locals all have their favorite flavors and choice spots to enjoy this delectable treat. Italian gelato is created by skilled artisans and is different to ice cream.  The ingredients are usually all natural, there is less butterfat and less air than ice cream, all giving gelato a more intense, unique creamy flavor. The flavors are also determined by what fruits are in season.

Our favorites were the unusual flavors, like lavender with white peach, pear  with caramel and baccio (which is chocolate and hazelnut praline).  We eat (ahem, “sample”)  a LOT of gelato!

 

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For readers who might want to validate our findings, should you find yourselves in Rome ~ The hands down winner is: “Gelateria Del Teatro” ~ Via Dei Coronair 65, Roma.

And yes…, sadly there IS such a thing as TOO MUCH gelato.

Ben, armed with a French-groomed intestine, is fine. I, however, might have overdosed on gelato.

My stomach, not used to sugar, is not happy with me after three days. I do not feel all that great on the plane. Ha, ha…

Was it worth it?  Hell yeah! Ok, maybe next time I will restrict myself to one gelato a day. Maybe…

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Good night Rome.

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Arrivederci!

 

Thanks for our comments and feedback ~

We love hearing from you!

Have you done similar “market research” of your favorite foods while traveling?

 

38 thoughts on “Is there such a thing as TOO much gelato? ~ 3 days in Rome, Italy.

  1. Ellyn

    Ah, you’re reminding me of my favorite gelateria in Rome: Caruso’s gelateria – the best pistachio gelato complete with a dollop of cream! What you found looked pretty darn tasty too! Though I’m missing your colorful clothes from Sri Lanka, you’re looking very
    relaxed. Hope we can see you once you get back to Chicago! Have a smooth flight back to the States!

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Ooh I love that you have a favorite spot and a favorite flavor!

      While in Rome we had lots of layers of clothes and were trying to stay warm with summer clothes in European winter. Boy were we lucky.

      Thanks… Yup we are back in Chicago. Be nice to see you guys too!

  2. Monica

    I want gelato now! Pistachio was my favorite, but I visited Rome back in 1996, before there were all the cool flavors! Guess I’ll have to go back and try again!

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Yup pistachio is now a classic flavor! You will be amazed at all the “wild” options that there are now!

  3. Anabel Marsh

    Maybe I’m odd, but I got way more excited over the pizza pictures than the gelato ones! I’ve just had lunch but I’m sure I could still eat a square of that aubergine/eggplant pizza…..

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Don’t get us wrong… We loved the pizza too. So many unusual interesting toppings. Another cool one was potatoes thinly sliced almost as thin as potato crisps atop the pizza crust.

  4. thirdeyemom

    I love Rome but haven’t been there for years! Your photos are
    Making me hungry! I love Italian food so much. Where are you off to next Peta and for how many years have you been traveling?

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      We left Chicago in 2008 to move to Nicaragua in Central America. While living and working there we used Nicaragua as an anchor for the Latin American chapter of our Green Global Trek. Our bamboo work took us to Haiti, Ecuador, Colombia, Mexico, Panama, Dominican Republic …

      After 5 years we launched the Asia chapter of our travels in 2013 at which time we became nomadic. We lived sequentially in Việt Nam, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Indonesia, India and Sri Lanka.

      We will be back in Asia at the bed of the year… I can’t wait to discover where we are off to.

      Peta

  5. Robyn Quint

    Thanks for this. I always love to follow all your adventures. Saul and I are leaving for Rome on Tuesday. After Rome we are going to the South of Spain to meet Ivan, Roy and a few other people. Take Care and keep the adventures coming.

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Robyn, lovely to hear from you! Have a fabulous trip!! This makes me wonder where in Spain you are headed? We spent about 3 months last year (en route to the U.S.) in Spain and Portugal.

      Say hi to Ivan and Roy from me…xoxo

  6. Sue Slaght

    Have a wonderful time in Rome. Never too much gelato as far as I’m concerned!
    This may be just on my end but there seems to be a technical issue with some of your photos showing up as tiny thumbnails and a few sideways or upside down. Just thought you would want to know.

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      We had a terrific time!

      Thanks for the heads up on the images … We have been having some issues but thought they were all resolved. Thank you for letting us know.

  7. Gilda Baxter

    I grew up on Italian food and love it all, the gelato is amazing. Your pictures took me back to the last time I was in Rome, with my sisters. The food markets are also amazing. I think you made a good choice of going to Rome, although Paris and Amsterdam are also awsome…it is a difficult choice. I hope your stomach is back to normal now😀

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Ah yes the tyranny of choosing between a known favorite destination versus an unknown yet to be explored city. Given that choice we will usually err on the side of the new destination!

      Yes back to health and my Minimal sugar lifestyle.

  8. Alison and Don

    There is no such thing as too much gelato. When we were there we were staying kitty corner to the oldest gelateria in Rome. It was huge with so many flavours I always had a hard time choosing. We also found extremely good gelato in Buenos Aires which has a large Italian population, and Vancouver has an Italian gelateria with over 200 flavours. Ice cream is one of my favourite things in life and gelato is the best ice cream 🙂
    Alison

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Don’t get me started on Buenos Aires! We had a business importing ethnic artisanal furniture from Argdntina which brought us to B.A. regularly over a period of 3 years. It was not about gelato for us, it was all about the “luna”and the dulce de leche. The luna, a brilliant variant on the French croissant had my French man swooning! Thanks for reminding me of those times…..

      Peta

  9. carolinehelbig

    Lucky you! What a great stop before heading home. I LOVE Rome! Your food photos are making me drool. We are seriously thinking about Sri Lanka (or Vietnam/Cambodia) in November, so hope I can pick your brain!

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      It helps to break up the travel time by stopping somewhere…. and if that somewhere is new or novel to us, then it is even more enticing!

      Ooh exciting!! You can certainly pick our brain ~ as well as our “archives” on all of those countries!

      Feel free to email me: petakaplan@hotmail.com and we can discuss further.

      Peta

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Thanks! It IS great fun!
      You both certainly could meet up with us somewhere ~ that would be very fun, talking about fun.

  10. badfish

    What I like about your posts is that you DO and see so much! I’m kind of a sit in the cafe all day kind of guy, maybe. Rome was a good choice. Last time I hit Paris in the winter, it was the coldest in like 40 years. I would never miss a chance for Amsterdam (my favorite of all cities). But Rome was a good choice given the variables. I admire the way Romans drink their espresso, standing up, with one foot out the door. While I was sitting there sipping a tall Americano. My vote: there can never be too much gelato. Happy trails…

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Badfish, given that we had been sitting on a plane for many hours en route to Rome and would back on another plane for more of the same, we were eager to walk. We were also eager to get s good feel for the city in a short amount of time.

      Ben being French, is very much a sit in a cafe , Cappucino and newspaper kind of guy! So we do that a lot too…

      Ahh Amsterdam is such a favorite of ours…now that we have had an experience in Rome my guess is we would opt for Amsterdam next time around … Or maybe Paris haha.

      Peta

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Thanks Anita. It’s amazing how much everybody the world over loves Italian cuisine! There are of course lots of hot tourists spots some of which came across our paths, but the hoardes of tourists had us moving quickly along to quieter corners.

  11. Jane Terrell

    I agree! That was the best gelato in Rome! I only tried two places, but it was very clear they were the best. Such wondrous flavors. I loved Rome.

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      We avoided the fluffy brightly colored gelato which has coloring and chemicals and sought out the most natural fresh ingredient gelato… These are often the smaller shops in less touristy neighborhoods.

      Rome was definitely fun but if we have the option again in the future I think we both prefer Paris and Amsterdam, overall.

      Peta

  12. Liesbet

    Nowhere is the ice cream better than in Italy! I’ve never been to Rome, but I would love to go one day… Beautiful photos and a great journey throughout the city. FYI: some of your portrait photos are sideways in Firefox for some reason.

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Thanks Liesbet. It was also actually terrific to be there ” out of season” as there were definitely less tourists than there would be in summer. We literally had the banks of the river to ourselves.

      I’ll check the pics thanks

  13. joannesisco

    For the past week, I’ve been very sick with a cold that went very bad, very quickly. The end result is that I’ve had no appetite and no ability to even taste food for several days.
    … and then I read this post and saw all the photos of food – ESPECIALLY the gelato!! My mouth is literally watering. A bowl of lemon gelato right now would be divine!!

    I love Rome. I love Italy.
    … but Paris is still my favourite place in the world. Croissant are not necessarily my first choice, but there is no question that Parisians make THE BEST BAGUETTE anywhere <3

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Mhmmm lemon gelato – plain and simple. Classic!

      We love Paris too. No city in the world like Paris. Oh yea, best baguette and many other delectables! Dipping a baguette in a coffee in the morning happens to be Ben’s favorite thing to do in Paris!

  14. Alison

    Eating gelato in Rome seems like the perfect way to get over the end of a fantastic stay in SE Asia. My aunt has lived in Rome for over 40 years, and I had the good fortune of living with her in my mid-20s. What a city! I wish I could get back and visit her and my favorite gelaterias more often. We live in Chicago, too. How long are you here before you take off on your next adventure? Have you decided where you are going next?

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Thanks Alison. That’s exactly what we thought… that gelato in Rome would provide a good transition between Asia and Chicago. Hardest adjustment as you well know being a Chicagoan, other than culturally, is the weather!

      We are headed to visit a very wonderful friend in Puerto Rico for a while and then will be back in Asia in November. Not sure where yet but for sure Bens work will take us back to Sri Lanka. We shall see where else we get lured to along the way…

      Can’t wait!

      Peta

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Lu Ann the open air market was astounding! We stuffed our suitcase with good Italian cheese for our chef son in Chicago and it was great to have an Italian picnic with him.

      Rome was great fun, yes.

      Peta

      1. Stan

        I have just read your post again on Rome and it’s wonderful. Actually would have been fun to read it again before my trip to Rome, which has just ended….
        I did have gelato, but not enough and I never gave it the respect it deserves, in terms of going out of my way to get some good well known stuff….
        I did have some at Canova’s on Piazza di Popoplo and that was the only time… Sob…
        No, in truth, I never missed out on anything.
        It was a superb week in Rome and the immediate environs with the most superb food and wines….
        You are accurate in my estimation about the croissants.. Paris does take it on that score….
        Hope I make it back there very soon… It is so inexpensive with more low costs flying around….
        Hugs and love to you