Tourists visiting Rome often end up paying massively over the odds for ‘gourmet’ pizza served in an overcrowded restaurant offering disinterested service. The pizza will be reasonable but un-exciting and the bill will be extortionate. Pizza in Rome is, truth be told, a street food and it is in the bustling backstreets of the city that you will find the best pizza sold by the slice for about €3 per portion.
Pizza al Taglio (literally ‘pizza by the cut’ but better translated as ‘pizza by the slice’) is generally sold by weight. Prices will be marked either per kilogram or per 100 grams (a portion of pizza can weigh anywhere from around 50 to 200 grams depending on the type and quantity of toppings that you choose). If you’re looking for the most authentic experience then look for a place which still uses a traditional Italian wood-fired pizza oven (riscaldato a legna) although if all you’re looking for is a quick bite to eat between tourist attractions then pizza cooked in an electric oven will do the job just fine!
If you’re used to the bewildering array of choices offered by home delivery outlets such as Domino’s and Pizza Hut then you might come away disappointed. Pizzas in Rome are generally simple affairs and indulgences like cheese stuffed crusts and using barbecue sauce would probably be considered sacrilegious by most Romans.
Be aware that ‘peperoni’ in Italian does not refer to the type of spicy salami which it does in English. Ask for peperoni on your pizza in Italy and it will arrive covered in small and very spicy peppers which are delicious but probably not what you were looking for. Prosciutto de Parma (Parma Ham), Engraulidae (Anchovies) and Pomodoro Secco (sun-dried tomatoes). It’s also worth knowing that unless you specifically ask for it your pizza may well come without tomato sauce (sugo de pomodoro) unless you specifically ask for it.
One of the joys of spending time in a foreign country is indulging in staple foods which may be regarded as a treat, or simply unavailable, back home. If you have the opportunity to cook yourself while you’re in Italy then you’ll have an even better experience. Companies like Oh Rome have a huge range of apartments throughout the Italian capital. By staying in an apartment you’ll be able to browse through the local markets, select the freshest Italian produce and then experiment to your heart’s content back in the kitchen. You might not be the next celebrity chef but it’s almost certain that a culinary holiday to Italy will expand your food horizons forevermore!