16 Roman Desserts That Will Derail Your Diet in the Best Way Possible

One thing many underestimate about the food culture in Rome is that we contemporary Romans have a sweet tooth.

Desserts, which we call “dolci” (sweets), are an integral part of everyday life. To describe the best desserts in Rome, one must start with breakfast, which in my city is traditionally sweet, then move on to meals, which usually end with a dessert, and after talk about snacks and nighttime sweets.

In short, every Roman moment is a good time to sink your teeth into a typical maritozzo bun or lick a delicious gelato.

On the podium, there is also Tiramisù, an Italian dessert that everyone in the city appreciates and has made at home at least once in their life.

If you have never heard of pastarelle, then I will introduce you to it, being my favorite local dessert.

14 Best Desserts to Try in Rome

1. Cornetto

Roman sweets tempt me from early in the morning when I go down to the street and the scent of freshly baked cornetto wafts into my nostrils.

Then it’s too difficult not to enter a bar (which here is one of the many small cafes, where we have breakfast standing at the counter or sitting at small tables). At that point, I decide whether to drink an espresso coffee or a soy cappuccino (I like it more than the one with cow’s milk) and then accompany it with a fragrant cornetto.

The origin of the cornetto is French, but in France, it’s called a croissant. In Rome, you can also find it filled with jam, chocolate, or custard cream. Almost all cafes also have some vegan croissants available.

However, you must be aware of one fact: the vast majority of cafes in Rome offer croissants of inferior quality, purchased from small “overnight factories of the croissant” or previously frozen.

When I want to enjoy authentic French croissants made with the traditional recipe, I go to the bakery-cafe Le Carré Francaise on Via Vittoria Colonna St. 30 in the Prati neighborhood.

2. Tiramisù

I didn’t put this dessert at the top of the list just because I’m on a diet, and therefore can’t eat it as often. However, it’s at the top of my heart. Tiramisù is the most well-known Italian dessert worldwide, and rightly so. Its name means “pick me up”. And how could it not, given its ingredients:

  • Cocoa powder
  • Coffee
  • Mascarpone cheese
  • Savoiardi biscuits
  • Eggs
  • Sugar

Downtown, you will find tiramisù on the menu of every trattoria and restaurant.

TIP: I recommend you try it in one of the pastry shops in Rome that specialize in tiramisu, such as:

  • Pompi in Via Albalonga, 7, where you’ll find classic Tiramisu, pistachio Tiramisu, strawberry Tiramisu, and other delicious variations.
  • Mr. 100 Tiramisu at Via dei Sediari, 11 (a few steps from Piazza Navona). This bistro specializes in tiramisu in many different versions and savory aperitifs. If you don’t reserve, you’ll hardly find a table.
  • Pasticceria Tiramisù in Via Aurelia 428, a little out of the way, but I love their tiramisu and all the other desserts I find here.

3. Maritozzo

Here’s the only dessert that can truly be called Roman. In my family of origin, this typical Roman food is the sweet treat we enjoyed on Sunday mornings when we went out for breakfast.

The maritozzo is a soft, oval, lightly sweet bun with a center opening filled with whipped cream. The dough contains honey, so its scent is delicate but flavorful.

This dessert originated in the Lazio region and is ancient. At the beginning of the last century, young men gave maritozzo that they wanted to marry, hiding a ring or a small golden object inside the bun.

Maritozzo is a nice mispronunciation of marito, which means “husband.”

In Rome, try it at the café and pastry shop Il Maritozzaro in Via Ettore Rolli, 50

4. Gelato

Here’s a dessert that needs no introduction. There are more than 1,400 gelato shops in Rome, most of which are open all year round.

I, like most locals, usually eat gelato on late summer afternoons, when the only way you can cool off is precisely to eat something very cold.

There are several top gelaterias in Rome, but my favorites are two:

  • Neve di Latte in Via Federico Cesi 1, near Piazza Cavour and not far from Castel Sant’Angelo. 
  • La Romana in Via Cola di Rienzo, 2.

TIP: If you’re vegan, try the raw-vegan gelato (and many other raw cocoa-based desserts) at Grezzo Raw Chocolate, located at Via Urbana 130 in the picturesque Monti Neighborhood near the Colosseum.

5. Pastarelle and mignon

Here I must first introduce a cultural note. On weekends, locals often go to visit relatives and friends in the early afternoon. They certainly don’t show up empty-handed; instead, the traditional custom is to stop by a pastry shop first and pick up a tray of delicacies.

In Roman pastry shops, the main attractions are pastarelle and mignon. They are the same type of dessert, except that mignon, as the name suggests, are a smaller version of pastarelle.

These pastries come in various types, depending on the creativity of the pastry chef, but there are some that are more widespread and can be found anywhere, like bigné (cream puffs) and fruit tartlets.

The Italian Bignè corresponds to the French beignet, a dessert made of choux pastry. In Rome, Bignè usually contains a filling of custard or chantilly cream, cocoa cream, coffee cream, pistachio cream, or strawberry cream.

Fruit tarts are made of shortcrust pastry filled with custard and topped with bits of fresh fruits.

Try those of Pasticceria La Deliziosa in Vicolo Savelli, 48.

5. Bombolone

The bombolone, known in Rome as bomba, is an Austrian krapfen filled with custard or chocolate cream.

This dessert has been a huge success in Rome. Locals have it for breakfast or as a late-night snack.

This dessert is made of sweet leavened dough fried, stuffed, and then covered in powdered sugar.

We locals also love to eat it late at night, returning from a night out with friends, standing up before saying goodbye.
Then the bombolone becomes a typical Roman street food.

  • You’ll find superlative bombolone with custard cream at Il Pangocciolaio on Via dei Magazzini Generali 15 in the Ostiense Neighborhood
  • If you want to stay in the historic center, enjoy them at Pasticceria Regoli in Via dello Statuto, 60.

TIP: for a night bombolone, head to Cornetteria in Via Angelo Emo, 25, it’s open up to 2 AM.

6. Cannoli

The Sicilian cannoli, a dessert famous worldwide, has Roman origins.

Roman historian Cicero in his records, wrote about “tubes made with flour and filled with milk cream.”

In Rome, you can find Sicilian cannoli in all the pastry shops.I like cannoli at the Pasticceria Caffetteria di Noto in Piazza Colonna 356, near the shopping street Via del Corso.

7. Crepes

If you’ve visited Rome before, you’re likely familiar with a favorite local dessert: crepes. It’s all over the historic center, every café and gelato shop offers this (again) French delicacy that is now a staple of Italian cuisine.

These delicately thin pancakes, crafted from flour, eggs, milk, and butter, offer a canvas for an array of sweet fillings, including jams and creams. A popular choice among Romans is the classic cocoa and hazelnut cream.

Crepes Galettes in the Monti neighborhood serves up these treats in both sweet and savory varieties, making it the perfect spot for a nutritious, affordable, and quick meal.

Desserts popular in restaurants all over the city

In addition to the legendary Tiramisu, a dessert that is never missing from the menu of Roman restaurants, you can find these delicacies in almost all the restaurants in town:

8. Millefoglie

French in origin, the “Napoleon,” Italian for “Millefoglie,” is one of the most popular desserts in Rome.

It consists of 3 or more layers of puff pastry interspersed with custard. The last layer is covered with a drizzle of chocolate and powdered sugar.

Before I even knew that this was also a French dessert, I knew it by the name “tortino al cioccolato.” In fact, that is how you will find it written on most menus.

9. Torta della nonna

This is a classic Italian dessert that originated in Tuscany.

The torta della nonna has a pastry base and a layer of custard covered with pine nuts.

It is a dessert with a simple and delicate flavor; in fact, I never order it because it is chocolate-free.

10. Chocolate Soufflé

For me, it is impossible to resist this dessert, especially in the cold months, there is no diet that holds.

How can you not crave a cupcake with a soft crust and melted chocolate filling? Some restaurants accompany it with cookies and a scoop of cream gelato, and the enjoyment is total.

The best I’ve had in Rome is from Osteria Metropolitana in Piazzale di Ponte Milvio, 34. 

11. Panna Cotta

For a long time, it was believed that panna cotta originated in the Piedmont region in the early 1900s, but this is not quite so.
A medieval cookbook from the 13th century has preserved the recipe for a Danish dessert (the Moos Hwit) identical to the Italian panna cotta.
Panna Cotta has cream, sugar, and milk covered with caramel, melted chocolate, or berries.

Try it at restaurant Cantina e Cucina. Address: Via del Governo Vecchio, 87.

12. Moretta cake

This is the favorite cake of local children, having a high chocolate content.

Moretta is a fluffy cocoa cake enriched with whipped cream and cocoa cream.

13. Vegan desserts

All the vegans visiting Rome should pay a visit to these two vegan shops in Rome.

  • Grezzo Raw Chocolate | Address: Via Urbana, 130. Grezzo makes a delicious and unique raw vegan gelato that tastes like no other gelato in Rome. Their chocolate pralines are also amazing. However, it is a bit pricey.
  • Radagast Vegan Bakery | Address: Via Teano, 309. This bakery makes vegan cakes and desserts that satisfy both eyes and palate. but it is located in a suburban area.

14. Pangiallo

Pangiallo could not miss from this post on the best desserts in Rome. This dessert was popular in ancient Rome and was offered to the Sun deity during the winter solstice period in late December.

Today some families still make it at home at Christmas time, as well as you can find it in some pastry shops.It is a bread filled with chopped nuts and dried fruit and covered with saffron (to recall the color of the sun disc).

15. Grattachecca

Grattachecca is a traditional Roman iced dessert, perfect for the hot summer months. It consists of hand-shaved ice, which is then flavored with various syrups, fruit juices, and sometimes pieces of fresh fruit.

The name “grattachecca” comes from the Italian words “gratta” meaning “scrape” and “checca” which is a slang term for a block of ice.

The most famous kiosk for grattachecca in Rome is located quite close to the neighborhood where I grew up, Monte Mario. It’s the Sora Maria kiosk at Via Trionfale, 37, open only during the warm months. It’s here that you must try it (or nowhere else.) Be prepared to wait in line for about ten minutes.


Navigating through the sweet lanes of Rome unveils not just a city steeped in history but one drenched in the sugary delights of its desserts.

From the aromatic mornings brought alive by the scent of freshly baked cornetti in the small cafes around the city to the whispered histories within the walls of traditional pasticcerias, each dessert carries a story.

As I’ve journeyed from the crisp layers of a cornetto at dawn to the icy refreshment of grattachecca under the scorching afternoon sun, it’s clear that the Roman penchant for sweets is not just a preference but a lifestyle.

I gave you at least 15 good reasons to forget your diet in Rome. Just try to have them at the places I’ve recommended otherwise they might taste different.