9 Best Desserts in Rome
Posted on February 9th, 2024
By Rome Travel Tips

9 Best Desserts in Rome

We just had a cheeky nibble on Rome’s dessert scene, munching our way through legendary cantucci and ciambelline al vino, not to mention the divine pangiallo. It’s all about those delectable flavors that will leapfrog straight onto your “Best Desserts in Rome” list.


Hello, fellow sweet tooth travelers! Let’s talk about the Best Desserts in Rome. Now, I don’t know about you, but if a pastry isn’t involved in my travel plans, it’s like I haven’t even been there. And in Rome, a city that’s all about love… and carbs, it’s safe to say you’ll find your sweet dreams indulged. (I mean, come on, they literally created a dessert named “husband” – you’ll get the full scoop later.)

This article is like your golden ticket to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory but Italian style! From soft and fluffy to crunchy and wine-infused, we’ve got the city’s top nine desserts that will melt in your mouth and have your taste buds doing the Tarantella in no time. So buckle up, pack a little bit of extra insulin and get ready to discover the Best Desserts in Rome!

This is just a taste of the articles you’ll find on Rome Travel Tips where our whole mission is to drench you in local knowledge from people who live and breathe the Eternal City.

Are you here for Croissants/Cornetti? Then you should head to our Best Croissants in Rome article!

History of Desserts

Okay, so we’re diving straight into the good stuff – the history of desserts! Now, I won’t bore you with a lecture, but knowing the history of sweet treats just makes eating them that much more delightful. Agree?

Potica, struffoli, cannoli – you name it, we Italians pretty much invented it, and all under the watchful eye of Nonna, of course. Dessert or “dolce” to us is more than just a sweet ending to a meal—it’s a centuries-old tradition. From using honey by ancient Romans to the Renaissance chefs who went bananas over sugar, to the present-day gelato that has folks drooling worldwide, we’ve been on a sugar rush for millennia.

But Rome, my friends, is a different kettle of fish. Sure, we’ve got all the Italian classics, but we have also kept to our traditions and made sure our regional sweets are some of the best. These aren’t just desserts; they’re memories, stories, and part of our identity. And now, they’re yours to discover.

So, loosen your belts, my friends, because it’s about to get heavy in here. Alright, that’s the end of our little history class. Next up, we’re going to introduce the all-stars of this sugary saga. Brace yourselves!

Ready for Rome Desserts 2.0? Check this Roman Bakery Instagram profile to see how desserts evolved during the time!

The Best Desserts in Rome — A Little Prelude

Let’s set the stage, shall we? Imagine wandering the cobblestone streets of Rome, the ancient ruins whispering tales of yore. The air smells of history, and wait, is that a hint of sugar and butter? Yes, my friends, because we’re about to embark on the ultimate quest for the Best Desserts in Rome.

These aren’t your average desserts; they’re artworks, reflections of Rome’s spirit served on a plate or wrapped in a napkin. We’ll saunter through family-run bakeries, where the secret recipes are guarded closer than the Vatican archives. These mouthwatering masterpieces are waiting to make your taste buds dance the Roman Holiday boogie. So, toss that map, let’s follow our noses, and maybe a local pigeon or two; they always know where the good crumbs are.

Prepare yourself—we’re about to unravel the sugar-coated treasures of the Eternal City. Keep your spoons ready and your cameras charged, because you’re gonna want to remember these moments.


Get this. When Rome was a bit on the pudgy side (around the Middle Ages), sweet buns filled to the brim with whipped cream called Maritozzo were what every respectable gentleman would give to his lady. Why, you ask? To ask her hand in marriage. So remember, when in Rome, do as the Romans do! Start a love affair with one of the Best Desserts in Rome – Maritozzo.

The first time you sink your teeth into one of these bad boys will be like a warm hug from an old Italian nonna. You take a bite, and the cream oozes out, leaving you with a mustache that would put Tom Selleck to shame. And the bun? So soft, so doughy, it’s like eating a cloud. It’s a beautiful symphony of naughty sweetness that you just can’t resist.

So take my advice, grab a napkin, or better yet, a whole bunch of them, because once you start with a Maritozzo, there’s no stopping. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Ready for more mind-blowing desserts? Just snap back, and we’ll be stuffing more sweet talk your way!

9 Best Desserts in Rome - Maritozzo


Moving from marriage proposals we pivot to… Carnivals! And it’s time for you to meet the round and feisty Castagnole. These fried balls of dough are the Mardi Gras’ queen of Italian treats. They represent the spirit of celebration and the eternal bliss of feasting! Time to notch up our Best Desserts in Rome roster, folks.

Now here’s some fun trivia – their name translates to chestnuts (castagne), not because they’re chestnut-flavored, but because they’re roughly the size and shape of a chestnut! And boy, do Italians know how to name their sweets or what?

Imagine this – it’s a chilly February morning in Rome, you’re walking near the vibrant Piazza Navona, and you see a bakery. You walk in and are hit by this intoxicating smell of freshly fried dough, it’s pure sensory delight! They’re slightly crispy on the outside, soft and cakey on the inside. Add a dusting of powdered sugar and voila! You have castagnole, the carnival in a bite!

Word of caution, folks, these cheeky little fellows are addictive. Once you pop one in, you’re on a one-way track to Flavortown. Just another sweet day in the eternal city, huh? For our next stop, let’s just say we’re heading to cream-puff heaven! Stay tuned, dessert lovers.

9 Best Desserts in Rome - Castagnole


Buckle up, my dessert-loving comrades, because we are about to step into the world of cream puffs, otherwise known as Bignè! Paris has its profiteroles, but when in Rome, we take it up a notch with our Italian version. The Bignè is not just your ordinary cream puff, it’s a diva dancing on the stage of the Best Desserts in Rome.

Picture this: You’re in a quaint old bakery; the walls have seen the passage of time and have tales to narrate. “Un Bignè, per favore,” you say to the friendly face behind the counter. They hand you a delicate puff filled with dreamy, creamy delights like vanilla, chocolate, or even liquor-laced custard, encased in a soft, baked-to-perfection shell.

The first bite’s a revelation. It’s like biting into a cloud of euphoria that explodes with flavor in your mouth. Don’t mind that dusting of powdered sugar on your nose; it’s just part of the delicious experience.

This isn’t just a cream puff; it’s Rome in a bite! The city is its texture, the filling, its history, all rolled into this sweet ball of heaven that has made its way from the baker’s griddle to the adoring mouths of its patrons. There you go, another sweet secret unveiled in our journey of the BEST desserts in Rome. But hold onto your sweet tooth; we’ve got more coming!

9 Best Desserts in Rome - Bignè


Whoa there, hold your horses, we’re not talking about the blended coffee drink. Nope! We are talking about a dessert, one that surely belongs in the hall of fame of the Best Desserts in Rome. Meet Frappe, the feather-light, crispy strips of deep-fried pastry, a special treat during the Carnevale season, but honestly, I could eat these all year round!

Imagine sitting at a café, smelling the fresh coffee, when a little plate of golden brown goodness descends in front of you. You reach out and pick up this delicate pastry listening to the satisfying crunch as you snap a little piece. You pop it in your mouth and taste the sweet simplicity of simple dough, fried perfectly and dusted lovingly with powdered sugar.

Frappe is a silent charmer. It’s not stuffed with cream or oozing chocolate. No sir, it’s just a dessert in its simplest form, and that’s what makes it one of the Best Desserts in Rome. It is unassuming yet fabulous, like that sweet lady next door who bakes cookies for the neighborhood kids.

Folks, don’t let its simplicity fool you. Once you have a taste of the frappe, you will surely have a happy shimmy. Ah, the joy of simple things in La Dolce Vita! But don’t fill up just yet; our sweet tour is far from over! Stay tuned, the next dessert is a curly little surprise!

9 Best Desserts in Rome Frappe


Next on our yummy journey through the Best Desserts in Rome, let’s make a pit stop at heaven’s door – yes folks, I’m talking about the one and only, the legendary, the epic… Tiramisu!

Now, I know I might be stirring up a controversy, as it’s a native Venetian legend that we’ve fully embraced here in Rome. But boy, oh boy, when Rome does Tiramisu, it does it with full heart, soul, and a lot of mascarpone!

Imagine, fine layers of feather-light savoiardi biscuits, soaked just right in strong Italian espresso (and sometimes a hint of liqueur, if Nonna is feeling cheeky), then layered with silken, creamy mascarpone cheese, all dusted off with a cocoa powder snowfall.

The first spoonful you take, you’d feel like you’re floating on a cloud “dolce”. The coffee jolt, the creamy, dreamy mascarpone, and the cocoa finish … it’s like a ballet in your mouth, with your taste buds doing a joyous pirouette. Yes, friends, Tiramisu is more than a dessert; it’s an experience!

So next time you’re in Rome, look past those supper-fancy desserts and give Tiramisu a chance. Believe me, as one of the Best Desserts in Rome, it’s gonna rock your dessert world. But wait, we’ve got more to unravel, the ride ain’t over yet!

Want to be a master of Tiramisu? Check our guide on the Best Tiramisu in Rome!

9 Best Desserts in Rome - Tiramisu

Crostata di Ricotta e Visciole

Alright, we’re pulling out the big guns now! The Crostata di Ricotta e Visciole is a real treasured gem in our Best Desserts in Rome line-up. It’s like a loving Roman grandma’s bear hug in dessert form – warm, comforting and a whole lot of amore!

The Crostata is what happens when a pie and a cheesecake decide to have a baby in Rome. It’s built with a sweet shortcrust pastry shell holding a creamy, tangy ricotta cheese filling. And to top it off, it’s studded with visciole, sour cherries. I mean, come on, we Italians do know a thing or two about harmonizing flavors!

Imagine being in a cozy Roman trattoria, you spot “Crostata di Ricotta e Visciole” on the menu, and you think, “What the hey, let’s do it.” You’re first met with the golden crust, then you hit the ricotta layer and your spoon meets a pleasant resistance, and then the visciole, like little explosions of tart happiness in your mouth.

Savour this moment, my pals, this is Rome on a plate. It’s a standout amongst the city’s sweets and a testament to Italy’s baking prowess. And hey, just here on Rome Travel Tips sharing another piece of our hometown glory. But folks, don’t go anywhere, we still got more sweetness to share! Stay tuned!

9 Best Desserts in Rome - Crostata di Ricotta e Visciole


Next up, we’re taking a detour down the memory-lane of Nonna’s kitchen and introducing you to drumroll … Cantucci! Now this classic treat hails straight from Tuscany but like many good things in life, it’s found a loving second home here in Rome, and we’ve adopted it as one of our Best Desserts in Rome.

These bite-sized crunchy almond biscuits are like a delightful throwback to childhood traditions. Picture this, a cozy Sunday afternoon, you’re seated in a sunny Roman café, you order an espresso (like the sophisticate you are), and alongside comes this humble-looking pair of Cantucci. Little do you know that these almond studded crunchy staples are about to teleport your taste buds!

You take a bite, and it’s a marvel of textures. Crunchy yet somewhat giving, mildly sweet, nutty, perfectly complementing your robust coffee. Serious question though, guys, how can something so simple be so satisfying?

So, here’s a cheering toast to Cantucci, the little dessert that could! If you’re digging the charm of the simple cantucci so far, hold onto your coffee cups, cause we’re about to travel deeper into Rome’s sweet heart!

9 Best Desserts in Rome - Cantucci al Vino

Ciambelline al Vino

Well, well, well, if it isn’t the Ciambelline al Vino, making a show-stopping entrance! If you’ve never had one of these wine cookies, buckle up, cookie monsters, ’cause these ring-shaped must-haves are a one-way ticket to Flavor Town!

We Romans love good wine but wait till you see what happens when we mix it with a bit of sugar, flour, and aniseed. Oh mamma mia, that is when the magic happens! It’s a simple, doable recipe that every Roman Nonna has probably passed down generation to generation.

Take a nibble, and savor the subtle wine notes, the aniseed’s distant whisper, all in a delectable, crumbly cookie. It’s got that perfect balance of sweetness and a little bitter kick from the vino – it’s like yin and yang found their place in a cookie!

Ciambelline al Vino, folks, is a prime example of Roman ‘keep-it-simple’ philosophy. You’ll find these delightful treats accompanying a sweet wine in delightful Roman café’s. But hold up, we ain’t done yet – there’s another seductive Roman must-try that’s waiting to be revealed!

9 Best Desserts in Rome - Taralluci e Vino


Roll out the red carpet guys, ’cause here comes the finale, the golden oldie itself, the Pangiallo! A dessert that dates back to ancient Rome, this one is the granddaddy of the Best Desserts in Rome list.

An interesting mix of dried fruits, nuts, and honey, coated in a golden, saffron-infused shell, Pangiallo is history and culinary delight wrapped in one. Take a bite, and it’s a lush explosion of varied textures and a deep, rich taste – it’s a dessert that tells a thousand tales!

But hang on! Why is the crust so…golden? Well, fun fact folks, it’s a tradition born out of the Roman Winter Solstice festivities, where these golden cakes were supposedly a sun symbol, bringing hope of longer, sunnier days ahead. There you go, a bit of trivia for your next Roman holiday!

And of course, when in Rome, do as the Romans do, right? So grab a Pangiallo, and make a wish for sunny days and endless gelatos!

9 Best Desserts in Rome - Pangiallo


Well, look at us! We’ve managed to savor Rome’s sweet side, one sugary bite at a time. From the joy of cracking a Cantucci to the cool rush of the Tiramisu, we’ve surely had ourselves a real treat. So next time you find yourself wandering around the Eternal City, forget about packing those extra pounds and just dive headfirst into the delicious symphony of these Roman desserts. Remember, in Rome, life is sweet, so make room for dessert. Ciao, for now, folks! Stay hungry, stay curious!

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