All you need to know about grattachecca, Rome’s most refreshing treat. What is it, where to get it, why you’ll love it
When summer arrives in Rome, tourists rush to get delicious gelato and they are right: gelato in Rome can be lovely and perfect to cool down and regain energy while sightseeing in the sun.
However, savvy Romans know that there is one thing that is even better than gelato and this food is called ‘Grattachecca’ (Pron. Grat -tah – keh -kkah)
Grattachecca is shaved ice served with juice, syrup and sometimes fresh fruit. It is typical of Rome and it is the quintessential Rome street food for summer: cheap, cheerful and delicious!
Reading this description, you may thing that grattachecca is like granita however, there are differences!
Read on and find out what Rome grattachecca is, where to get it and more Rome foods to try in summer!
What is grattachecca?
Grattachecca is a typical Rome treat made of shaved ice and syrup and / or fresh fruit. Served usually in a plastic or paper cup, grattachecca is made there and then: the ices gets manually scraped from a large ice block and then you can add the topping of choice.
The more traditional have simple juices and syrups, while trendier interpretations now serve it topped pieces of fresh seasonal fruit and in bigger cups.
Grattachecca is the quintessential old-style takeaway treat: a little bit like gelato, it is not served in fancy cafes but you get it from small kiosks, often only operational in summer and in certain times of the day, usually evening. A Rome must!
How do you eat grattachecca?
You eat and drink grattachecca. The cup usually comes with an spoon and a straw.
First, you tuck in with a spoon, then as the grattachecca starts melting, you drink it!
What is the difference between a grattachecca and granita?
Grattachecca and granita are iced desserts at, at first glance, they have much in common.
Both are served in small cups, both have shaved ice and juices. The differences are in the preparation and the use:
Granita is from Sicily and it is made by mixing fruit pulp/juice/syrup/coffee with water and sugar, then mixed at very low temperature for a very long time. The result is smooth and the result way more refined than that of its Roman counterpart!
Grattachetta, on the other hand, is made on the moment, in a much less refined way! The ice is just shaved from a block and the flavoring put on top last minute – the result is equally refreshing and there is something about grattachecca that just embodies the practical spirit of the city.
A little bit like carbonara or cacio e pepe, this truly is a traditional Rome food!
The other difference is the time and use. Sicilian granita is often offered for breakfast, while grattachecca is an afternoon or evening snack, more like a gelato.
Where to get grattachecca in Rome
There are several good addresses for Grattachecca in Rome. The most famous are:
Alla fonte d’oro, Lungotevere Raffaello Sanzio, Rome find here >> their Facebook Page.
Sora Mirella, Lungotevere degli Anguillara (ponte Cestio), Roma – legendary grattachecca place serving grattachecca with many tastes including fresh fruit – the on with summer berries is legendary.
Two great stops if you are in Trastevere or visiting Isola Tiberina.
If you are in the Testaccio area:
Tram Depot, via Marmorata 13, Rome – find here >> their Facebook Page.
Chiosco Testaccio, via Giovanni Branca, Roma
Both these addresses are perfect if you are visiting the protestant cemetery, Rome’s Pyramid or the Aventine hill.
If you are in Ostia, Rome’s beach, and you want to enjoy a grattachecca there, head to Grattacheccaro, Lungomare C.Duilio 21, Ostia.
Other refreshing foods to try in Rome in summer
Granita di caffe’ – you find legendary coffee granita in Caffe’ Tazza d’Oro, just beside the Pantheon (one of the best coffee places in Rome)
Sorbetto – a mix of fruit pulp (at least 50%), water and a maximum of 25% sugar, sorbet has a thin grain and it is made incorporating a lt of air, it is often served as a vegan or lactose-free alternative to artisan gelato.
Cremolato – again similar to granita, cremolato is shaved ice and at least 80% fruit pulp
Lemoncocco – legendary iced treat served in the Lemoncocco Kiosk in Piazza Quadrata, not to be confused with the much more recent and much less delicious drink commercialised abroad.
Caffe’ shakerato – italy’s iced coffee, delicious!
Gelato – no need for introductions to one of Italy’s most famous exports. Find here >> our favorite addresses for the best gelato in Rome City center.
Useful guide to visiting Rome in summer
Travel guide to visiting Rome in June
Fantastic swimming pools in Rome to beat the heat
How to deal with summer weather in Rome