Gelaterias are all over Rome. One might argue that there are more gelaterias in Rome than there are Starbucks in an American city. However, there is no monopoly over gelato brands in Rome. So how does one decide which gelateria to try?
Some basic advice I’ve heard is to not eat the gelato that looks perfectly fluffy like a cloud. Do not eat gelato that is brightly (artificially) colored. Do not eat gelato at a place with mostly English signs. This all seems like a bunch of advice for a foreigner like me who is simply wanting to try as many gelato combinations possible. Where do the locals go then?
Ciampini in Piazza di San Lorenzo is one gelateria that is frequented by local professionals in Rome. These businessmen and women do not need anything flashy. They are simply here on siesta to enjoy a nice treat. If they are lucky, they have time to sit in front under an umbrella and enjoy catered service. Ciampini also sells sandwiches, cappuccinos, alcoholic drinks, and tobacco products. Most, although, simply stand outside together, chatting while trying to not let their gelato melt.
Eating gelato in Rome isn’t like taking the kids out for ice cream in America. The professionals that are Ciampini’s main customers are dressed in suits and dresses. They don’t have their phones in their hands, multitasking while pretending to talk. They are actually engaged in lively conversation. If they have a free hand, they are waving it in the air to emphasize their very important point.
Not even the slowest eater can let their gelato last more than a few minutes, so these gelato breaks are short. No matter how big the group, they all cheek kiss before returning to their workplace, satisfied from their siesta gelato. Where do you think they work in this shopping district?