Not to be confused with the famous gelateria near the Pantheon, though there is a connection – they’re both run by branches of the same family. This Giolitti is one of my favourite bars in Testaccio — laidback, unpretentious and very Roman. The occasional tour group drifts in to sample some gelato before continuing with their Testaccio food tour, but for the most part it’s just the locals – residents who have probably been coming here their whole lives.
Giolitti does great gelato – no need to queue! – in all the classic flavours like chocolate, stracciatella and zabaione (a flavour based on the popular dessert made with egg, sugar and sweet wine). But I generally come here for a quick coffee at the bar, or sometimes for an aperitivo. I like to sit at one of the tables outside, with a view of the Aventine Hill at the end of the street. My Aperol Spritz comes served with olives, crisps and nuts on a silver tray – a nice old-fashioned touch.
Giolitti feels quite old-fashioned in general, which is one of the reasons I like it. Think laminate table tops, old wooden chairs and crazy paving floor. This retro décor is one of the reasons Giolitti was chosen as a filming location for the popular TV series “Romanzo Criminale”, set in the 1970s. As Testaccio slowly becomes modernised and gentrified, I hope this historic bar stays the same.