On a hot day in Rome, there’s no better treat than a grattachecca. Lighter and more refreshing than gelato, grattachecca is made with shaved ice and various flavours of syrup or fruit juice. The name comes from the verb grattare (to grate) and the noun checca (a large block of ice), and it’s a summer ritual in Rome. It’s a little like the Sicilian granita, but don’t confuse the two - grattachecca is 100% Roman.
You can buy grattachecca from special street kiosks, many of which are open only during the warmer months. It’s the perfect pick-me-up towards the end of a hot day, especially if you’ve been exploring the city on a Rome tour.
These are the five best grattachecca kiosks in the city centre:
1. Alla Fonte d’Oro (Lungotevere Rafaello Sanzio, near Piazza Belli) This kiosk in Trastevere is one of the most famous in Rome, and has been making grattachecca since 1913. We’d recommend the strawberry, peach and lemon grattachecca, but they’re all delicious.
2. Chiosco Testaccio (Via Giovanni Branca) Hidden away in a quiet residential street in Testaccio, this kiosk is renowned for its lemon and coconut grattachecca. Orange and amarena cherry is also worth a try.
3. Sora Maria (Via Trionfale, on the corner of Via Telesio) This women-only (staff, not customers!) kiosk is especially good for fruity grattachecca. It’s a short walk from the Vatican, so why not stop off for a refreshing break after your Vatican tour ?
4. Sora Mirella (Lungotevere degli Anguillara, opposite the Tiber Island) Another grattachecca institution in Trastevere, Sora Mirella has been perennially popular with both tourists and locals since it opened in 1915. Grattachecca with fresh fruit is a speciality.
5. La Casina dell’Ara Pacis (Lungotevere in Augusta, near Ponte Cavour) A traditional grattachecca kiosk that once attracted famous names such as the writer Alberto Moravia and the director Pasolini, La Casina dell’Ara Pacis is still regarded as one of the best kiosks in the centre. Come here for your citrus fix - the grattachecca with cedro (citron) is particularly reinvigorating on a warm summer evening.
~by Alexandra Turney~