When I'm in Rome, my pizza of choice is pizza al taglio. Called pizza by the slice when translated, but that doesn't mean it's a triangular slice cut from the pizza pie. No, this pizza al taglio is a rectangle, or square, cut from a larger rectangular slab of pizza. Although its shape is similar to Ligurian focaccia, its texture is different - thinner and with a crisper crust. It's a staple in the Roman diet. Pizza bianca, the pizza with only a sprinkling of salt and olive oil, has been my go-to breakfast during various stays in Rome. This pizza also comes topped with tomato sauce (pizza rossa) and various other vegetables, and cheese. Rome has its version of the traditional round pizza, with a crust that is thin and crispy, but I prefer Roman pizza al taglio.
Mainly, I've eaten pizza al taglio as a light meal or snack. During my six-week stay in Rome a while ago, one of my favorite places for pizza al taglio was Il Forno in the Campo de' Fiori. After getting a slice, usually with eggplant or zucchini, I would sit along the benches at the nearby Palazzo Farnese, eat and people watch in the piazza.
For my recent visit to Rome, I had planned on making a snack of Gabriele Bonci's pizza al taglio at Pizzarium, especially after seeing all the blog posts from his pizza and bread making classes. (All the links to these are on this Italy on a Plate post.) Because my trip to Rome was a too short two days, I enlisted the help of Roman bloggers and food lovers, Katie Parla, Elizabeth Minchilli, Tavole Romane, and Hande of VinoRoma, to help. I asked them if they had only four meals to eat in Rome, where would they choose. Unanimously, every one of them recommended Pizzarium, not for a snack, but for lunch.
I was convinced. My first day in Rome, I worked up an appetite by making a beeline from my hotel in Trastevere to Pizzarium, which is located across from the Cipro-Musei Vaticani Metro stop, and near the Vatican Museums. Although the price was at least double what I'm used to paying for pizza al taglio, Chef Bonci didn't disappoint. The pizza is a little thicker, and the outer crust is extra crunchy. Inside is full of holes of varying sizes, making it softer, airy, and a delicious contrast in texture against the crunchy crust. And then, there were the toppings - fresh, tasty and abundant.
Chef Bonci is extremely generous with the toppings and the olive oil. Make sure you have plenty of napkins while eating; otherwise, your chin and hands will have a nice glow from the extra olive oil. The pizza topped with marinated Roman artichokes was TO DIE FOR. I loved it so much it's on the menu for my world-ending meal. Also a delicious combination was the salty prosciutto with eggplant and cheese. For me the taleggio was too strong a flavor, and made the mild flavor of the zuccnini disappear.
Just west of the Cipro-Musei Vaticani Metro exit, Pizzarium is a hole in the block of buildings on the small street. They have a few tables outside and a bar inside for you to stand and eat. There were at least 15 various toppings in the case when I was there. You choose what you'd like and the size. They charge by weight. The six squares for two people, shown above, were 27 euros. More production was going on in the back, and as new variations came out, they added them to the case.
Pizza al taglio is a treat not to be missed in Rome, and the pizza at Pizzarium is definitely worth a full lunch. I was so stuffed, I had to alter my lavish dinner plans for the evening. Plans for my next trip include trying other toppings and taking one of his classes.
Pizzarium - via della Meloria, 43 - Rome
Tricolore in Rome offers various classes in Italian, including Gabriele Bonci's classes on pizza and bread - Here is the Tricolore Class Schedule