Every guidebook about Rome mentions a couple of ice cream parlors (gelaterie) in the centre of town, but not all of them have taken the trouble to visit the oldest, and according to many people best, one of them all. Fassi, or Il Palazzo del Freddo, has existed since 1880.
Gelateria Fassi Rome
Address: Gelateria Fassi, Palazzo del Freddo, Via Principe Eugenio, 65 – Rome. Opening hours: From 12.00 till 22.00 (except on Saturdays and Sundays, when they are open till midnight.
History and description
The first Fassi to sell ice cream (and beer) was Giacamo, then from a small kiosk in the Via delle Quattro Fontane. His son Giovanni took over, after having had to resign from a job with the king because he refused to shave off his moustache. Giovanni first moved to Piazza Navona and then to the Via Piave, where he stayed for 20 years before founding the Palazzo del Freddo in its present location in the Via Principe Eugenio, 65.
They have been so successful in the course of these many years that there is now a Palazzo del Freddo franchise in South Korea. In 2014 Fassi was bought by a Korean company, but the daily running of the parlour is still in the hands of the family that started it.
Fassi is huge, with marble floors and high ceilings and wonderfully decorated with historical prints of old Palazzo del Freddo advertising posters from the beginning of the last century. Two hundred of its seven hundred square meters are taken up by the ice cream production itself.
Fassi was recently renovated. Apart from ice cream they sell semi-freddo and in winter sweet crepes and hot ice cream in various flavours. There is also a small coffee bar. During the winter months on Wednesdays there is a 50% discount on cups and cones and on Thursdays on packaged ice cream.
It is not even necessary to eat the ice cream on the premises. You can have it packaged with dry ice. For every hour you need to keep the ice cream cold you pay a certain amount, but the first hour is free.
There is a small courtyard in the back of the store where children’s parties can be organized.
Fassi also organizes tours of their ice cream making facilities.