DUBAI // Rome's most famous ice cream parlour - adored by film stars, popes and even the daughters of US president Barack Obama - is about to open a branch in the UAE.
Giolitti, which offers a range of more than 70 flavours, has been a firm favourite of generations of Romans, celebrities and tourists.
Nazzareno Giolitti and wife Giuseppina began making gelato - the Italian word for ice cream - in 1900 at a site near the Pantheon in the heart of the Italian capital. The company operates from the same premises to this day, and the business is still owned by the family.
The UAE branch is due to open within the next few weeks at Emaar Boulevard, Dubai. The news was announced by the Italian ambassador Giorgio Starace at an event held to promote next week's Gulfood exhibition in the city.
"It is one of the most famous ice cream places in Rome," he said. "We are very happy that Giolitti will open soon, work is going on in the shop close to the Burj Khalifa and the inauguration will be very soon. It is going to be delightful for all of us."
Among the famous faces to have visited the restaurant in Rome are Cameron Diaz, John Travolta, Antonio Banderas, Justin Timberlake, Sharon Stone and former Italian prime ministers Silvio Berlusconi and Romano Prodi.
Malia and Sasha Obama went there in 2009 while their father was attending a G8 summit in Rome and were shown how to make gelato. Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck are seen visiting the restaurant in the film Roman Holiday, while Pope John Paul II used to have Giolitti's marrons glacés delivered.
Specialities - all made to secret recipes - include a concoction shaped like the Olympic torch to celebrate the 1960 Games in Rome, and the "coppa mondiale", which marks the holding of the World Cup in Italy in 1990.