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You’re a Roman emperor in 62 AD and you’re getting pretty hot in your toga. It’s the middle of summer, and needless to say, there are no freezers to be found. Luckily for you, there’s no shortage of strong male servants to order into the mountains in search of ice. Which is exactly what the emperor Nero did. His servants would climb high into the Alps, pack up as much ice and snow as they could, and rush back into town to preserve it underground. Then, Nero’s cooks would combine the precious cold substance with fruit toppings, honey, and nuts, essentially creating the first flavored ice. One thousand six hundred and twenty-seven years later in nearby Florence, the famous architect, engineer, and artist, Bernardo Buontalenti, presented his recipe for ice cream to Caterina de Medici… and 121 years after that, Sicilian fisherman Francesco Procopio dei Coltelli created the first ice cream machine. No wonder gelato always tastes best in Italy — the Italians have been obsessively developing it for over 2,000 years. Today, Romans are still combining local fruits, herbs, and nuts with frozen milk and cream to create silky gelato in delectable flavor combinations. Next time you’re in Rome, try sage with raspberries, or dark chocolate with wine at Gelateria del Teatro, off via dei Coronari. Or how about apple cinnamon, or meringue with ground pistachio at Gelateria dei Gracchi, just south of the Lepanto Metro stop. You’ll find gelato of all flavors — even the classic chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry — on nearly every street corner in mom-and-pop shops and sidewalk stands… often with a view of the palaces and ruins where Nero and other emperors walked, lived, and ruled. Taste it for yourself (and take loads of photos along the way) at our upcoming Rome Photography Expedition this October 10-14. You’ll get to wander from gelato stand to gelato stand, watching Italian women expertly navigate the cobblestones in their stiletto heels while you photograph centuries-old streets strung with laundry lines and colored with flower boxes. Oh the photos you’ll take. Only ONE seat remains. — Lori Lori Allen Director, Great Escape Publishing [Editor’s Note: Learn more about how you can turn your pictures into cash in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.  Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Selling Photos for Cash: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.]

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