An Ode to Old Bridge
It seems that every country has their own swoon-worthy culinary delights. Just as I was missing Brazil’s sweet acai, along came gelato to fill the void. Upon arriving in Rome, our goal was to eat a gelato a day, and we very nearly made it, eating at unassuming hole-in-the-wall gelaterias and storefronts with mounds of ice cream perfection alike. We ate it in the shadow of the Colosseum, sitting across from the Pantheon, and while gazing upon the Trevi Fountain.
Out of all the gelato we consumed, the best came from Old Bridge, a Vatican-adjacent shop perfect for a pick-me-up after a long day in the museums. Derek loved it so much, he wrote an Ode to Old Bridge:
“Anxiously I walk the streets, looking through store windows to find the perfect place to meet. I’ve waited all day, thinking of you at every moment. Oh gelato, how I dream of your rich deliciousness, your lovely layers of cream stacked beautifully on a waffle cone. Oh yes, you will be mine. And then I see it. I make my way over to the crowd of wide-eyed bystanders who share the same passion for you that I do. We all struggle to choose. Chocolate, strawberry, pistachio, biscotti, melon, amarena, mint. It’s nearly impossible to decide what three flavors will suffice. It takes years for a composer to create a beautiful symphony and I have 30 seconds to create mine. A symphony of flavor worthy of my love for you. Sweat drips from my forehead and I begin to feel overwhelmed. I close my eyes, breathe deep, and a calming feeling comes over me. My head clears and my three flavors appear. Yes chocolate, you pistachio, and amarena too. It’s perfect! The gelatorista hands me my gelato and like Barry Sanders I gracefully maneuver through the crowd. I find some place for us to be alone. And then it’s on.”
Old Bridge isn’t hard to spot thanks to the constant line out front, and it’s easy to see why people keep queuing up. Whole cherries are suspended in the amarena, delicate shards of the real thing peek out from the chocolate and the pistachio tastes of freshly ground nuts, slightly salty with only a hint of sweet. Choose your flavors, watch the skilled gelato slingers pile it high, then devour it on the sidewalk before it has a chance to melt.
Viale dei Bastioni di Michelangelo, 5
00192 Rome, Italy