After eating our way through Rome during three separate trips, we’re ready to share our picks for the best pizza in Rome. Discover our favorite spots for Roman pizza as well as other pizza specialties in Italy’s eternal city.
It took us three trips to Rome before we could call ourselves true Roman pizza fans. As much as we love eating in Italy, we just didn’t love Roman pizza the same way that we love pizza from Naples and New York. But it wasn’t Rome’s fault.
As much as we adore eating food in Rome, especially Rome’s big four pastas (Amatriciana, Cacio e Pepe, Carbonara and Gricia), at the city’s best restaurants, we didn’t immediately connect with Rome’s traditional pizza and its crunchy crust. We knew we were missing something which is why we returned to Rome for a third pizza tour.
As it turns out, educating ourselves about the Rome pizza scene and researching the best Roman pizzerias provided the golden ticket. Not only did we finally crack the Rome pizza code, but we also ate a heck of a lot of great slices and pies along the way.
Brief History of Roman Pizza
Pizza, the most famous Italian food, is inexorably tied to Italy and therefore Rome, the country’s vibrant capital city. This association is no passing trend or new fangled fad. Instead, people have been eating various forms of pizza in Italy for centuries.
Greek conquerors introduced flatbreads to Italy before it was either a kingdom or country while Roman soldiers topped flatbread with cheese and olive oil after making their own conquests. Emilia-Romagna had its own early version of pizza as did Sardinia and Sicily. Then there’s Naples, the Italian epicenter, both historically and culinarily, of what many in the world call pizza today.
Ironically, despite its history with pinsa (i.e. flatbread), Rome didn’t have a signature pizza until the 20th century. Now it has several and they’re everywhere from markets to upscale eateries.
Since Rome is a capital city, pizza comes in all shapes and styles beyond the thin crust variety that’s so associated with the city. The key is to know where to eat the best versions.
Ironically, while Roman thin crust pizza is prevalent around town, it’s not our favorite pizza in Rome. When given the choice, we almost always choose Neapolitan pizza since we haven’t yet found a thin crust pizza in Rome that’s blown us away. Luckily, it’s not the only pizza in Rome.
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Types of Pizza in Rome
There’s no such thing as Roman pizza. Hear us out…
A lot of people think of Roman-style pizza as thin and crispy featuring a dough made with olive oil. However, this type of pizza, often called Pizza Romana, is just one type of pizza served in Rome.
As evidenced by the sheer number of Rome pizza shops selling slices, Pizza al Taglio may actually be the most popular pizza in Rome. But what is it? Pizza al Taglio literally translates to cut pizza and that’s exactly what it is – a pizza that’s cut or sliced to order and typically priced based on weight.
Toppings are what make this rectangular pizza special. Easy to find all over Rome, Pizza al Taglio is a great option for those seeking a quick lunch or afternoon snack.
Other Roman pizza styles include Pizza Rossa, a simple flatbread with tomatoes and olive oil, and Pizza Bianca, a flatbread often filled with mortadella. When it’s stuffed, the latter becomes a sort of pizza sandwich, proving that food can be whatever you wish to make of it. If we were to slap together two slices of sausage pizza…, well, you get the point.
Discover more great sandwiches around the world.
Where to Eat the Best Pizza in Rome
Our fun but filling mission to find and eat the best pizza in Rome was a success!
To complete this mission, we traversed the city by foot, bus and metro, stopping for gelato and coffee whenever we needed a sugar high or caffeine boost. But they were diversions. Pizza was both our rallying call and our reward.
After eating our collective weight in pizza, these are our favorite Rome pizza shops and the ones you shouldn’t miss during your Rome pizza crawl:
Sbanco is the pizzeria that caught our eyes as we were researching the best Rome pizza shops, motivating us to make an advance reservation and take a 21 minute metro trip soon after our arrival. Those extra efforts were worth it. Sbanco is nothing short of a gem with its industrial vibe, wood-fired oven and bar filled with craft beer taps.
Stefano Callegari opened Sbanco in 2016 and it’s now part of a pizza portfolio that includes Sbanco, Sforno, Tonda and Trapizzino (see below). After eating two of his Roman-style pies at Sbanco, he gets our vote for the city’s most prolific pizza proprietor.
The pizza at Sbanco is outstanding.
Basic pies like the Diavolo (pictured at the top of this article) shine with toppings that include fior di latte (mozzarella) and ventricina (a spicy salami typically eaten in Italy’s Abruzzo region). Beyond those toppings, we applaud the supple, puffy, yet slightly crisp crust that forms the base of every Sbanco pie. This is a pizza base that’s loaded with flavor.
However, Sbanco’s infamous Cacio e Pepe pie is the pizza not to miss. Loaded with Pecorino Romano cheese and plenty of black pepper, the Cacio e Pepe pie is a monster that made us wonder ‘how’d they do that?’ As we later learned, Callegari cooks this creative pie with crushed ice so that the top layer stays moist while the crust achieves GBD (golden brown delicious) status.
Since man and woman can’t live on pizza alone, we bookmarked our Sbanco pizzas with fritti (fried treats) and dolci (Italian for dessert). The two fried starters were appropriately cheesy and greasy while the cheesecake provided a sweet ending. Two triple Eddy craft beers produced by Lucky Brews washed it all down just right.
Go big and order a Cacio e Pepe pie. It’s a showstopper that you don’t want to miss.
Sbanco is located at Via Siria, 1, 00179 Roma RM, Italy.
2. Antico Forno Roscioli
We shouldn’t have been surprised that the pizzas at Antico Forno Roscioli are so good. After all, this Rome bakery is part of the Roscioli empire that includes Roscioli Salumeria con Cucina, one of the best restaurants in Rome, and a curated wine club. In fact, we didn’t totally get the allure of Pizza al Taglio until we ate Roscioli’s rectangular slices.
Although new to us, Antico Forno Roscioli near Campo dei Fiori is far from a new operation. The bakery opened a half century ago in 1972, while the baking history inside its building goes all the way back to 1824.
To be clear, Antico Forno Roscioli isn’t a sit-down restaurant and its slices are served on paper plates. People could hypothetically order them ‘to go’ but that would be a mistake. These crispy slices deserve to be eaten while they’re hot. Dare we say that they demand it? Yes, we dare and they do.
Following our own advice, we stood outside while we ate a couple hot slices including a Pizza Rossa topped with flavorful tomato sauce and another slice topped with sausage and mozzarella. But we didn’t stand for long. Moments later we ran back into the bakery to buy more slices. Toppings like pesto, burrata and anchovies on those slices turned our breakfast stop into a breakfast feast.
3. Pizzarium Bonci
While Stefano Callegari may be the most prolific pizzaiolo in Rome, Gabriele Bonci is arguably the most famous. Since opening the wildly popular Pizzarium in 2003, the celebrity chef has appeared on numerous TV shows including season one of the late Anthony Bourdain’s The Layover. He’s even expanded his reach to Chicago and Miami.
Crowds patiently queue at Pizzarium from morning to night six days of the week, only stopping on Mondays when the pizzeria is closed. They all have the same goal – Pizza al Taglio with toppings that range from standard cheeses and cured meats to more exotic options like bottarga and foie gras.
Don’t let Pizzarium’s diverse toppings distract you from the main event. Made with organic stone ground flour and fermented for 72 hours, Pizzarium’s dough is where its pizza begins.
We first visited Pizzarium during a Rome food tour and later returned on our own. As we learned during our second visit, the pizza is sold by weight and isn’t cheap. Our two slices (cut into four slices each) totaled €14.02. Ouch and yum.
Make a visit to Pizzarium after you tour the Vatican. The pizzeria’s Prati location is just a half hour walk from Vatican City. If you happen to have a refrigerator in your hotel room or apartment, consider making a post-pizza visit to the extraordinary La Tradizione to purchase some cheese or meat to enjoy later.
Pizzarium Bonci is located at Via della Meloria, 43, 00136 Roma RM, Italy.
4. Emma Pizzeria
Emma’s location a block from Antico Forno Roscioli (see above) near Campo de’ Fiori probably isn’t a coincidence. After all, Emma’s co-founder Pierluigi Roscioli is part of the Roscioli family. He partnered with Francesco and Ilaria Roscino to open the sit-down restaurant in 2014 and hasn’t looked back.
Don’t assume that the Antico Forno Roscioli and Emma serve the same kind of pizza. Emma’s thin, round pies are made with organic flour and are best eaten with a knife and fork. That being said, Emma’s toppings are sourced from Roscioli which provides a family link.
Pizzas at Emma are tight. Our Margherita pie was text book with its tangy tomato and fresh mozzarella fior di latte on a thin, crisp crust. However, our Prosciutto pie was the winner due to the addition of parma ham sourced from Pio Tosini in Emilia-Romagna.
While pizza is the main event, Emma’s menu has other items worth ordering. While we couldn’t resist the restaurant’s crispy fiori di zucca (zucchini blossoms) to start our meal, our friends ordered a plate of Cacio e Pepe. And the best part? It all paired well with crisp white wine.
Pop into the attached Emmaemporio – Nonsolobio to purchase local products and wine to enjoy in your hotel room or take home as edible souvenirs.
Emma Pizzeria is located at Via del Monte della Farina, 28, 00186 Roma RM, Italy.
5. La Gatta Magniona
Located in the Monteverde neighborhood just past Trastevere, La Gatta Magiona has a wood-fired oven as is typical in Italy. However, this Rome pizzeria goes the extra step of sourcing high-quality ingredients from beyond Italy’s borders. We’re talking about ingredients like Scottish smoked salmon, Spanish anchovies and French cheese.
Don’t be confused by this creative sourcing. Thin but not too thin, La Gatta Magiona’s pies are some of Rome’s best and would make any cat feel greedy. Plus, the important ingredients are local as are the pizzeria’s owners. Cecilia Capitani, Giancarlo Casa and Sergio Natali opened their award-winning La Gata Magiona in 1999, a mere 26 years after the trio met in high school.
La Gatta Magiona loosley translates to Greedy Cat.
La Gatta Mangiona is known for its primi dishes and extensive beverage menu almost as much as it’s known for its pizza. However, we were there to eat pizza and that’s exactly what we did. Our only decision was to decide from a menu filled with 20 red pies and 18 white pies.
Topped with mozzarella, mushrooms and sausage, our white Boscaiola pizza (pictured above) did not disappoint with its gently charred crust and generous amount of toppings. The same goes for our red Gallurese pie adorned with tomato, mozzarella, spicy salami, olives and pecorino cheese. Yes, this pie had two different cheeses. And, no, we didn’t complain.
6. Forno Campo de’ Fiori
Considering its location on the edge of the Campo de’ Fiori market, it’s no wonder that Forno Campo de’ Firori is perpetually busy. But the market isn’t the reason that Forno Campo de’ Firori is so busy. The reason is the pizza.
We’re not talking about pizza loaded with toppings. Forno Campo de’ Firori specializes in Pizza Bianca, little flat breads that rely on olive oil for their flavor, and Pizza Rossa slabs lightly doused with tomato sauce.
We tried one of each during our visit, munching on the duo as we wandered around the market and its crowd. In addition to the throng of locals and tourists, a crew was filming the action that we were happy to join.
Mixing things up, we looped back and shared a Pizza Bianca (pictured above) stuffed with mortadella, Italy’s tasty cured pork product with roots in Bologna. More similar to a sandwich than to typical pizza, this Pizza Bianca provided a protein-packed start to our day that we appreciated.
Mark two pizzerias off your Rome pizza bucket list by pairing a visit to Forno Campo de’ Firori with a visit to Antico Forno Roscioli (see above). The two iconic Rome pizza places are just four blocks apart.
Forno Campo de’Firori is located at Piazza Campo de’ Fiori, 22, 00186 Roma RM, Italy.
Panella is more that a Roman pizzeria. It’s also a Roman cafe, a Roman bakery and a Roman bar. But, since we visited Panella to eat pizza, we consider it to be a Roman pizzeria. And a good one at that.
Not to be confused with a new place trying to be all things to all people, Panella has been part of Rome’s Monti neighborhood since 1929. Just a 10-minute walk from our hotel, the classic pizzeria/cafe/bakery/bar was impossible for us to resist.
How could we resist a counter filled with pizzas topped with a rainbow of ingredients. We couldn’t and we didn’t. Somehow, we narrowed our choices to a traditional slice topped with tomato, basil and mozzarella and a seasonal slice topped with zucchini, potato and carrot.
While we appreciated the clean simplicity of the traditional slice, the seasonal slice was the winner with its unique combination of local vegetables. However, in retrospect, we were the real winners since we shared both Al Taglio slices while soaking in the sun during a glorious Rome afternoon.
Panella is less than a 15 minute walk from Roma Termini train station if you’re craving pizza during a quick stop through Rome.
Panella is located at Via Merulana, 54, 00185 Rome RM, Italy.
8. Pizzeria Otiense
Pizzeria Ostiense defines the Pizza Romana style in Rome’s Ostiense neighborhood, not far from the food hub known as Testaccio. Since we stayed in Ostiense in 2020, our visit to this typical Rome pizzeria was practically inevitable.
Only open since 2014, Pizzeria Ostiense feels like it’s been in the neighborhood for much longer. Flanked by a wood-fired oven, its spacious dining room isn’t fancy. Instead, it’s a friendly spot with simple decorations and checkered table cloths. Its pizzas are prepared in classic Pizza Romana style – crispy, thin and loaded with toppings.
Despite its name, Pizzeria Ostiense serves more than just pizza. Beyond the 28 red and white pies on its menu, this pizzeria serves a range of pastas, meats and fried treats. Of course, we had to try something fried, specifically a Suppli stuffed with cheese and rice. We also ate a Salsiccia pizza which happened to be topped with some of the tastiest sausage we’ve yet to eat in Rome.
We don’t typically love thin crust pizza but, as a vehicle for wonderful Roman toppings, Pizzeria Ostiense’s pizza is top notch. It’s the kind of pizzeria we’d eat at a lot if it were in our home city. We might not write about it but we’d be regulars.
Order a carafe of red wine to go with your pizza. It’s so cheap that it would be wrong to just drink water or beer.
Pizzeria Otiense is located at Via Ostiense, 56, 00154 Roma RM, Italy.
Gaining popularity over the past couple decades, the hand-pressed Pinsa style of pizza is a nod to oblong Roman flatbreads eaten during ancient times. But make no mistake. Today’s Pinsa pizzas are modern pies with modern toppings and modern prices that won’t break the bank.
Not surprisingly, based on its name, Pinsere serves this style of pizza
Our afternoon visit to Pinsere had its bumps. Daryl’s attempt to photograph the pretty pizzas on display seemed to annoy the owner and the staff wanted to start wrapping things up. However, the gruff service didn’t distract from the quality of Pinsere’s pizzas. In fact, our oval-shaped pie topped with multi-colored tomatoes bufala mozzarella and basil was outstanding
Pinsere offered limited outdoor seating at the the time of our visit and that’s okay. Its pies, which take a quick four minutes to bake, double as portable street food. In other words, don’t feel obligated to sit if you’d rather walk.
At the time of our visit, most pies were priced at €6, and some even less, despite quality toppings like speck, n’djuja and lardo. Vegetarians have solid choices too – zucchini, figs and honey, just to name a few.
Pinsere is located at Via Flavia, 98, 00187 Roma RM, Italy.
Stefano Callegari changed the Rome pizza scene in 2013 when he opened his first Trapizzino shop near the Testaccio market. You probably recognize Callegari’s name since he also owns Sbanco (see above), Sforno and Tonda. Either way, you can’t miss his Trapizzino shops during a Rome pizza tour – there are more than a half dozen in the city.
A hybrid of two local food favorites (Rome’s Pizza Bianca and Italy’s triangular tramezzino sandwiches), Callegari’s culinary creation is a pizza dough cone stuffed with savory Roman food favorites and a few international classics. Its shape makes it uniquely portable while its ingredients attract crowds to Trapizzino’s locations around Rome and beyond. There’s even a location in New York City.
During our visit at the original Testaccio location, we spotted familiar fillings like Trippa alla Romana (Roman Tripe), Parmigiana di Melanzane (Eggplant Parmigana) and Polpetta al Sugo (Meatballs in Tomato Sauce) as well as more exotic fillings like Ethiopian Zighni flavored with berberé spice. Of course, Callegari’s original filling, Pollo alla Cacciatora (Chicken Cacciatore) was also on the Trapizzino menu.
That meal was a revelation. In addition to eating two different Trapizzino’s – one filled with stewed pork and the other with a saucy meatball, we also ate our first ever Suppli. If there’s a better way to eat classic Roman dishes than to stuff them inside pizza bread, we are yet to find it.
Don’t be surprised if there’s a queue. The Trappizino is one of Rome’s most popular street foods.
Trapizzino has multiple locations. We ate at the original Trapizzino located at Piazza Trilussa, 46, 00153 Roma RM, Italy.
Additional Rome Pizza Shops
Our Rome pizza journey continues! If you’re like us, you’ll want to check out pizzerias near the Trevi Fountain as well as on the city’s edges. Consider the following pizzerias if your belly has room for more pizza:
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About the Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.
Original Publication Date: April 12, 2022