Pizza is one of Italy’s great contributions to the world and remains one of the most popular foods in the country. Eating pizza in Italy is more than just a culinary experience; it’s a cultural phenomenon that opens your eyes to Italy’s predilection for quality ingredients, time-honored cooking techniques, personal digestion and the camaraderie that takes place around the table (or wood-fire oven). Pizza is not only supremely delicious – it’s a food that brings people together.
Originally invented in Naples, pizza comes served in a variety of styles throughout the country: round, square, thick, thin, fried, gourmet, traditional. The Eternal City is famous for thin crust Roman pizzas and pizza al taglio, or pizza by the slice. There’s also a lesser-known variant native to Rome called the Pinsa Romana, which is oblong in shape, and there are a growing number of pizzerias that serve Neapolitan-style pies with a raised, doughier crust.
After eating my way through many margheritas in the city, I’ve put together my favorites in this guide to the best pizza in Rome. (The cover photo is by the excellent Rome-based food photographer ⓒAlberto Blasetti).
Just a few brief notes on how to enjoy pizza the local way. In Italy you traditionally eat round pizzas at dinner because the wood-fire ovens take hours to heat up, so many historic restaurants are only open in the evenings (though it’s becoming increasingly easy to find pizza served at lunchtime as well). Pizza al taglio, on the other hand, can be enjoyed at any time of the day: it’s a perfect mid-morning snack, quick lunch or afternoon bite – and many pizza al taglio places stay open past midnight.
Pizza in Italy is a cheap and casual treat so going out for a pizza is popular weekend ritual for families and friends. Italians usually pair pizza with beer, not wine (although sparkling wines are beginning to have a moment with pizza), and always start with a plate of mixed fritti for the table to share: supplì, fiori di zucca, mozzarelline, olive ascolane and baccalà are the usual suspects.
When it comes to toppings, less is more. Pizzas are served either rossa, with tomato sauce, or bianca, without tomato sauce, and are usually topped with one or two ingredients such as mushrooms, ham, sausage or anchovies. The one exception is the capricciosa which is loaded with prosciutto, artichokes, mushrooms, black olives and and an egg. It’s a popular pizza but you’ll never go wrong ordering a classic margherita, my favorite.
Thin Roman-Style Pizza
Pizza in Rome is cracker-thin and often served with a charred crust, giving it a satisfying crunch as you bite into each slice. The baked dough is also remarkably resilient, serving as a sturdy base for your ingredients despite the weight of the pie.
Da Remo: Arguably Rome’s most beloved pizza and a neighborhood favorite in Testaccio, Da Remo is a perennial favorite so show up early or be prepared to wait. The atmosphere is cozy, the food is great and the service is very Roman. Don’t miss the supplì which are excellent.
Nuovo Mondo: If Da Remo is too busy to get in, you’re in luck – Nuovo Mondo is another great pizzeria and it’s located just around the corner. Most people prefer Da Remo but I personally like the pizzas equally, though the ambiance here is a bit colder and less homey.
Ai Marmi: Similar in vibe to Nuovo Mondo, Ai Marmi is a classic Roman pizzeria with fluorescent lighting and cold marble tables (it feels a bit like a morgue but not necessarily in a bad way?!). It lies along Trastevere’s main street so it’s convenient and has a boisterous atmosphere, plus plenty of indoor and outdoor seating.
Ivo a Trastevere: Another great pizzeria in Trastevere, Ivo serves thin pies as well as an array of appetizers and Roman pasta dishes. Sit outside for a quintessential Roman dining experience.
Da Francesco: Conveniently located right in Piazza del Fico (ie right in front of Bar del Fico, one of the most popular bars in Rome), Da Francesco is always busy because there’s nothing better than a margherita after a spritz. Put your name on the list while you sip your drink and join a game of chess below the fig tree while you wait for the restaurant to call you up.
Baffetto: Baffetto is one of Rome’s most famous Roman pizzerias and the long lines are a testament to the fact that it’s featured in every single guidebook about the city. I like Baffetto and the pizza is good – super thin, quick and cheap – but I’d recommend stopping by for a late lunch rather than dinner because the atmosphere feels rushed and very casual (if you arrive at 2:30pm, you’ll miss the worst of the crowds and easily find a seat).
L’Archetto: When I worked in Prati, l’Archetto was my go-to pizzeria. This spot is just a few blocks from the Vatican and prepares a wonderful pizza that’s slightly thicker than the traditional Roman crust – it’s never charred but it’s not spongey like the Neapolitan style. I usually opt for margherita con buffala e funghi and am never disappointed. Don’t confuse this pizzeria with Spaghetteria L’Archetto, a different restaurant near the Trevi Fountain.
Giacomelli: Giacomelli is one of Rome’s best-kept secrets. This pizzeria is extremely popular with locals-in-the-know but largely undiscovered by travelers and expats because it’s located north of the Vatican in a residential area.
Li Rioni: If you’re wondering where to have a good, local meal near the Colosseum, swing by the contemporary enoteca Wine Concept for some vino and then head over to Li Rioni a Santiquattro for a delicious Roman pizza (it’s only open for dinner).
Alle Carrette: I always have trouble eating at Monti’s restaurants (I don’t find them to offer a great price/value and they tend to be overhyped) so I often head to Alle Carette for a sure-fire satisfying meal. I’ve eaten here more times than I can count and love the cozy tavern feel, especially on chilly winter evenings. Don’t miss the olive ascolane and fried artichokes to start.
Fiammetta: This gem is one of my very favorite restaurants in Rome – it’s in a great location just around the corner from Piazza Navona (without being overrun by tourists), has an extensive menu of tantalizing options and both indoor and outdoor seating. It also has a wood-fire oven and serves up great pizzas. Although I almost always opt for red pizzas, my favorite pizza here is a piazza bianca topped with mozzarella and verdure ripassate: a white pizza with juicy mozzarella covered in salty, peppery cicoria.
Er Panonto: I love Garbatella and am always happy to have an excuse to head to this charming southern neighborhood. If you’re in the area, don’t miss dining beneath the shady pergola at Er Panonto, a neighborhood pizzeria that makes you feel transported to a small town in the Italian countryside.
Naples invented the original pizza and The Art of Neapolitan Pizza Making has even been recognized as UNESCO Intangible World Heritage – a well-deserved honor for this remarkable culinary capital (see the best places to eat pizza in Naples here). Neapolitan pizza is very different from Roman pizza: the crust is thicker, fluffier and the whole pizza is more moist due to extra water in the dough and the buffalo milk mozzarella that is usually served on top. In Naples, the two common pizza varieties are margherita or marinara (topped with fragrant tomato sauce, garlic and no cheese). In Rome, Neapolitan pizza often has gourmet variations.
Bir & Fud: A mainstay in Trastevere, Bir & Fud serves Neapolitan pies and over 30 craft beers in a hip, contemporary setting. I have to admit I like Bir & Fud more and more each time I eat here – the atmosphere is fun and I love sipping an IPA with my margherita. It’s also right in the middle of all the action in Trastevere (and across from Ma Che Siete Venuti A Fà, an iconic pub in the city).
La Gatta Mangiona: This cat-themed Neapolitan pizzeria in Trastevere has long been lauded as one of the best in the city and it’s worth the trek across town to try. It has a huge variety of pizzas and an extensive drinks list, including dozens of Italian wines and craft beers. You can also find pastas and meat dishes here.
Seu Pizza Illuminati: One of Rome’s most popular openings this year, Seu Pizza Illuminati is located near Porta Portese in Trastevere and offers a modern, minimalist dining experience in the city. The fritti here are superb (try the “parmiggggianina”, a deep-fried slice of eggplant parmesan) and the pizzas are tantalizing as well, with quality ingredients and a satisfying crust.
Piccolo Buco: It’s hard to find good restaurants near the city’s main attractions but Piccolo Buco is an exception. This Neapolitan pizzeria is one of the few decent places to dine near the Trevi Fountain. Like it’s name suggests, it’s a small spot and although it has a menu hanging outdoors (normally a major red flag), it makes for a good meal in the heart of the city.
Sbanco: I fell in love with Sbanco from the first bite of my lemony pizza back in 2016. Owned by Stefano Callegari, one of the master pizzaiolos in the city (not to mention the owner of Trapizzino and Sorpasso, two of my other favorite places to eat in Rome), Sbanco has delicious pies with creative ingredients and a great beer list. My absolute favorite is the Tropeana with buffalo mozzarella, red onions from Tropea, olives and lemon zest.
Sforno: Another pizzeria owned by Stefano Callegari, Sforno introduced cacio e pepe pizza to Rome and for that I will always be grateful. This special pizza comes served with a pepper mill in the center and heaps of pecorino on each slice. The secret? Baking the dough with an ice cube and then topping it with grated cheese so it stays powdery rather than melting on the pizza. Sforno is located near Cinecittà so it’s a good spot to check out after a tour of the iconic film studio in south Rome.
Pro Loco Pinciano: Pro Loco Pinciano is a gourmet deli, restaurant and pizzeria in the elegant Piazza Fiume neighborhood, meaning you’ll find well-suited locals gathering for business lunches or dinner dates at this inviting establishment. The menu has lots of tasty options and a dozen pizzas that are impossibly light and fluffy. It also serves up some great pizzas with fruit (unusual ingredient pairings for Rome) like the Quattro Formaggi with fig compote and the Autumn Pizza with persimmon.
Luciano Cucina Italiana: Elio Santosuosso’s pizzas just be the most photogenic in all of Rome. The young pizzaiolo is one of the emerging talents of the city and makes excellent Neapolitan style pizzas with the most impressive raised crusts: they’re light, fluffy and fragrant rather than heavy thanks to a dough that rises 24 hours. Try the Costeria pizza, inspired by Nerano’s famous pasta, which features cream of rocket, fried zucchini, provolone cheese, black pepper and basil.
Pizza al Taglio
Pizza by the slice is one of Rome’s classic street foods and a popular snack at any hour of the day or night. The toppings have gotten very experimental in the past few years and pizza masters like Gabriele Bonci has become household names in the city for their creative pairings and quality ingredients. The best tip I can give you is to order several small slices of pizza so you can try a variety of flavors – and you can’t go wrong with ordering whatever has just come fresh out of the oven.
Antico Forno Roscioli: Roscioli is a venerated name in Rome because of its quality ingredients, local specialties and long history. The Roscioli brand operates a restaurant, cafe, wine bar and bakery – and you should make it a point to try the pizza al taglio at the bakery (or “Forno”). Pro tip: order some slices of pizza bianca and pizza rossa to go and head over to Il Vinaietto for a glass of wine – it’s the perfect cheap and casual aperitivo with locals.
Forno Campo de’ Fiori: Another traditional bakery in the center is located right in Campo de’ Fiori and it’s famous for having some of the best pizza bianca in the city. There are actually two shop fronts – the main one in the piazza with the large “FORNO” sign and a more discreet location to the left on Vicolo del Gallo 14 – I love stopping by this second address for seriously incredible sandwiches made with freshly-baked pizza bianca.
La Renella: You’ll smell La Renella before you see it because the scent of freshly baked pizza emanates from the forno and wafts out onto the streets of Trastevere, luring you in to order a slice or two whether you’re hungry or not. This is a favorite late-night place and has a wide variety of pizzas.
La Boccaccia: La Boccaccia has been sprouting up all over the city and for that I am grateful: this pizza al taglio spot always has lots of great flavor combinations and the dough is the perfect consistency – soft but crispy. I recently tried pizza with pumpkin and gorgonzola and it was excellent.
Pizzarium: Now that we’ve covered the more classic pizza al taglio spots, it’s time to move on to Pizzarium which has developed a sort of cult following in the city. Created by master pizzaiolo Gabriele Bonci, it offers a very different pizza-by-the-slice experience than the others. This gourmet spot creates truly unique flavor pairings with carefully-sourced seasonal ingredients like artichokes, oxtail, persimmons and more, and the higher price tag is reflected in the price. The potato pizza here is a standout.
Panificio Bonci: Panificio Bonci is a small bakery that also serves Bonci’s famous pizza by the slice, although it offers fewer variations than the other spots. This is also a nice place to stop by for breakfast croissants, cakes or seasonal baked goods, like Panettone at Christmas time.
VIP Pizza: I have wanted to tell the world about VIP Pizza for a very long time because I seriously love the pizza here (and love rooting for an underdog). VIP stands for “Very Italian Pizza”, which is a terrible name, and it’s open daily from 8:30am – 5:00am, meaning it attracts the late-night crowd stumbling out from the nearby night-clubs – but the pizza is so good, I can never resist stopping by for a slice of pizza filled with spicy panfried leafy green vegetables like broccoletti and cicoria.
Pinsa & Others
Rome’s culinary scene is particularly vibrant at the moment, which means lots of new openings, fusion eateries and more. That means the city’s pizzerias are also getting more experimental – and not just the toppings. You’ll find pizza of different shapes, sizes and styles in Rome, whether that’s a pinsa to-go, a smaller round pie enjoyed as street food rather than sit-down, or artisanal products that don’t fall neatly within the other categories.
Pinsere: The Pinsa Romana is hailed as a healthier pizza alternative by its proponents: shaped like an oval, the dough is made from wheat, rice and soy and features a higher water ratio than traditional pizza. Apparently this means the final product has less sugar, fat and cholesterol. It has a very similar flavor to normal pizza and is served with the same sorts of toppings. One of the best places to try the pinsa is at Pinsere, a casual eatery located halfway between Villa Borghese and Termini Train Station.
La Pratolina: Rome’s other famous pinseria is only open for dinner and is booked up days in advance, so plan accordingly if you want to dine here. La Pratolina opened in 2001 and bills itself as the first modern pinseria in the city. It’s a cozy, rustic restaurant that is beloved by locals and has a slew of tasty pinsas with or without tomato sauce. Try the “Sapore di Bosco” with tomato sauce, sautéed porcini mushrooms, rocket and ricotta salata.
Trieste Pizza: Trieste Pizza is a street-food joint born in the seaside city of Pescara back in 1958 and has a number of franchises in Italy and abroad, including one located along Via Urbana in the heart of Monti. Trieste Pizza serves personal pizzas, or pizzette, that are 6″ (16cm) in size and come topped with quality, organic ingredients. I have to admit the pizza crust tastes a little bit like those I used to have at Pizza Hut but in a comforting way – and certainly a much healthier alternative.
Berberè: Another franchise in the city, this one hails from foodie capital Bologna. Berberè makes delicious artisanal pizzas with a wonderful sourdough crust that stays soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside – and the pizzas come served sliced into 8 pieces so they’re perfect for sharing. The menu changes seasonally and this spot gets bonus points for its cool retro decor.