Is everyone here? You, in the back, can you hear me? Ok, just follow me…see this red flag I’m holding, if you don’t see me, just look for that red flag. Right this way!
The Gelato Tour doesn’t have a long and storied history, but as time goes on I have no doubt it will. Sara, aka Ms. Adventures in Italy, is our fearless leader, and you can go on other tours here. I am one of your trusty tour guides for Rome, and while our first stop today isn’t necessarily my absolute favorite gelato place (there are so many and my true favorite isn’t that close to my house, so we’ll have to go there another day), it is definitely the winner in my book for sheer number of choices. I give you: Della Palma, just steps from the Pantheon, an area where there's quite a bit of competition for your gelato money. So it's a good thing you have a tour guide to help you wade through the Roman gelato jungle.
I took four shots of the glass cases of gelato here, and I still hadn’t covered all of them. It’s usually full of tourists, but I managed to stop by when there was hardly anyone, which was perfect for getting all my photographic evidence.
By the fourth or fifth shot though, the guy serving gelato was so amused that I decided I better order something.
I got the smallest cone, giving me a choice of two flavors, so I picked biscotto and Galak (a white chocolate named after a candy bar here). The biscotto tasted like cookies and cream, which I loved, because it isn’t that easy to find. The best thing about Della Palma is that if you have a favorite gelato flavor and you can hardly ever find it, chances are good that it’s here. I didn’t ask how many flavors they have or count, although a list on Fodor’s says one hundred (seems a strangely round number, but it’s probably pretty close).
One of the only drawbacks to this place is the fact that it’s a little pricey. I didn't write down the prices, but I think I paid €2.50 for a small cone, which is about 1 euro more than what I'm used to. Most of the places around the Pantheon are higher, because they obviously cater to tourists.
While we’re on the topic, be sure to look at the price list before ordering at shops in these touristy areas, and if there isn’t a price list displayed (although that’s technically against the law), be sure to ask how much a small cone, or a cone with the number of flavors you want, costs. Once one of my study abroad students told me that she was charged €5 for a small cone, and was only told the price after it was being held out to her, dripping. It’s a bit uncomfortable at that point to start arguing that you’re being ripped off. However, if that had happened to me, I would have told the guy thanks anyways and let him eat the gelato. As I always say, don’t be afraid to refuse things if you feel you’re being ripped off. A small gelato (meaning 2-3 flavors depending on the shop) should run you anywhere from €1.50 to €2.50. Even if its higher, it's OK so long as you know that's the price before you order. Pay first, or at least ask, then order.
In addition to “regular” gelato, Della Palma offers variations on the theme, like mousse in several flavors (though only available in a cup, not a cone, because it doesn't have the same consistency as gelato). It’s also a candy store, so could be a good place to pick up some goodies for friends and family, or just for yourself.
Something I love about Italian gelato shops is how they randomly place objects representing the flavor in the middle of the tub. I used to wonder: ooooh, who's the lucky duck that gets that in their cone? Just imagine if this landed in the middle of your cone of cappuccino flavor gelato:
Hey, check me out, I'm going to try to be all artistic-like and take a shot of my half-eaten gelato in its natural environment of the Pantheon:
And I’m not the only one who likes this place.
As we wind up today’s visit, I’d like to have you take a look at Fodor’s list of the best gelato in Rome. First, I can assure you that my favorite gelato place is not on the list, and that’s because it’s not touristy. And I can also assure you that, in my highly unbiased opinion, it truly is THE best gelato in Rome. In a future visit I will be happy to take you there—it’s in a big neighborhood and not that hard to reach with public transport. Meanwhile, feel free browse the others on the list and try to guess which, if any, I’ll pick for future stops.