A Very Subjective List of the Best Pizzerias in Rome
Pizza was born in Naples as a humble food that everyone could afford, but it has been elevated to an art form. Italy’s next gen pizzaioli are obsessive about sourcing the best ingredients, often using Slow Food principals. They study how to make their dough light and digestible. They change their menus according to the seasons. And they think outside the box when it comes to toppings, creating unique flavor combinations often inspired by traditional recipes.
When in Rome, there are a few different types of pizza to know. Neapolitan pizza is light and airy, with a soft, pillowy crust. Roman pizza on the other hand has a very thin, crunchy crust. There are full service pizzerias where you order pizza tonda (round pies) and to-go spots where you get pizza al taglio (by the slice), which is usually cooked in large rectangular pans and sold by the weight. Most sit-down pizzerias are only open for dinner, but pizza al taglio is available all day and is perfect for a quick lunch or afternoon snack. When sitting down for dinner at a pizzeria, Romans typically start with fritti (fried appetizers) and drink beer, not wine.
My husband Marco and I are kind of obsessed with pizza. We consult the Top 50 Pizza list the way some people consult the Michelin guide. We’ve planned trips around reservations at some of the world’s best pizzerias. In our house, Sunday night is pizza night. Sometimes we order delivery from our favorite local spot, but we also love to go out and try different pizzerias on a quest to find the best pizza in Rome. We’ve traversed the city from north to south in search of superlative pizza. Our quest is ongoing, so I can’t claim that this is a definitive list, but I think it’s a good representation of the places that are worth seeking out. Many of them are outside the confines of the centro storico, but believe me, they’re worth the effort it takes to get there.
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Honestly, I don’t understand why I Quintili isn’t on the Top 50 Pizza list. Marco Quintili hails from the province of Caserta and opened his first pizzeria in 2017 in Tor Bella Monaca, a neighborhood near where we live on the south-eastern outskirts of Rome. He has since opened two more pizzerias in Furio Camillo (the easiest to get to on metro line A) and in EUR and he also has a stand in the Mercato Centrale in Termini Station. His pizza is Neapolitan style, with a light, airy crust and artisanal toppings of the highest quality, in both traditional and creative combinations. His fritti are also excellent, though they’re Neapolitan, not Roman (potato croquettes and frittatine instead of supplì).
This year, Neapolitan pizzaiolo Diego Vitagliano tied with Francesco Martucci for the number one pizzeria in Italy according to the judges at Top 50 Pizza, so naturally we had to go try it for ourselves. It’s located in Corso Francia, a residential neighborhood in northern Rome, but if you’re willing to make the trek, you’ll be rewarded with some of the city’s best Neapolitan pizza. Spread over two floors, the pizzeria is spacious and full of Romans, not tourists. The dough is light and the toppings range from old school margherita to special pizzas like the pistadella with mozzarella from Agerola, mortadella, and Sicilian pistachio pesto. And even though this place is rated the number one pizzeria in Italy, none of the pizzas cost more than €14.
Of the pizzerias making thin crust Roman-style pizza, L’Elementare is my personal favorite. It’s got three locations (we’ve been to two of them). The one in Trastevere is the most centrally located, but I love to sit outside at the one in Parco Appio in the warmer months. They have classic flavor combinations, but I recommend their special pizzas, like the Parmigiana de Noantri, which is topped with tomato sauce, fried eggplant, stracciatella, semi-dry tomatoes, basil, parmigiano, and charred eggplant skin.