Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The first Rome post: Gelato

For some days I thought my opening salvo on all things Rome would begin with art. After all, for me it is the big three that set the seed and soul of all that I love about Rome: Caravaggio, Bernini, and Borromini, the painter, the sculptor, and the architect. Unfortunately they were all repulsively violent lunatics, and as I find my way towards coming to terms with that unsavory reality I thought I'd take a look a gelaterias for awhile instead.

Has anyone ever been beaten to death by a gelato? No, I think not. If you are attacked with a gelato most likely the worst it will come to is that you will feel chilled.

If you want to find out about the Baroque architect Borromini on the Internet you can, though a small amount of digging and piecing things together is required. If you want to find out on the Internet where the good gelato is in Rome you will encounter a mass of information greater than the lost library of Alexandria. And if you want to write a blog post about that gelato and dare to just sample minute fractions of the available information you will end up six hours later wildly hungry and clutching 16 pages of scrawled notes. For a trip vast months away I am trying to remember the names and locations of dozens of Gelaterias: Comme il latte, Fridgidarium, Otaleg, I Caruso, Gelateria Del Teatro, Fior Di Luna, Ciampini, Carapina, Fatamorgana, San Crispino, il Gelato di Claudio Torce, Paradice, Gelateria dei Gracchi, and Gelateria la Romana.

I think I just named 14 gelaterias there. But here's the thing: I'm sure I left some of the best ones off. And when you read about gelato in Rome you are warned about how a lot of bad, processed, junk gelato proliferates. Oh, no, not at Riva Reno, or Giolitti, or Grom, or Procopio, or Old Bridge, or Il Dolci di Nonna Vincenza, or Venchi Cioccogelateria, or Neve di Latte, La Gormandise, or Al Settimo Gelo, or Mela e Cannella, or Gelateria Dell Angeletto, but outside of these you have to really watch for authentic colors and good quality. 

In the Academy Award Best Picture winning film My Life in Ruins, our heroine, a tour guide played by Nia Vardalos, asks disgruntedly "What is it about tourists and ice cream?" But here's a recipe for you: bundle enough tourists together (Rome) so that you can financially support 520 gelato shops, and if just five percent of them are brilliant you end up with a list so insanely long that, even in a month of vacation, you will be defeated by riches before you start.

When I am defeated I will grab an espresso and go look at some art instead. I wonder where the best espresso in Rome is?

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