[Photographs: Amanda Ruggeri]

As the temperatures rise in Rome, nothing could be more refreshing than a granita, Italy's answer to (and predecessor of) the American slushy. But a granita is so much more than the granular ice and fake-flavoring mixture that we've come to know in the States, especially when it's a granita like this one, from Rome's Gelateria del Teatro.

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Located near Piazza Navona, Gelateria del Teatro serves up granite and gelati made from all-natural, high-quality ingredients. Since a granita is just water that's flavored, frozen, and crushed, chemicals and preservatives taste even more obvious, while an all-natural granita, like this one, tastes simply delicious.

Flavors range from strawberry and sparkling wine to sage and raspberry, to an uber-rich dark chocolate; outside, the lucky few who have grabbed tables relax over their cones and cups, watching the passersby on the cobblestoned Via dei Coronari.

Choosing a flavor of granita is tough. Do you go with the classic lemon? Coffee? In the end, I opted for the lime-and-mint flavor, and couldn't have been happier. Bright and citrusy, it tasted exactly like a wedge of lime topped with mint. Only sweeter... and frozen. In other words, the perfect refreshment on a hot Rome day.

About the author: Amanda Ruggeri, a journalist based in Rome, blogs at Revealed Rome. She's written for the New York Times, Guardian, Fodor's, New York Magazine, and AFAR, among other publications. You can follow her on Twitter: @revealedrome

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