Known the world over and butchered by many cultures, pizza is not just an option in Italy. It is a part of life, of being and eating.
When traveling throughout Italy for over a year, I had some memorable pizzas and some I wish I could forget for the sake of my stomach’s memory.
We all make mistakes while traveling in terms of eating, but pizza in Italy is one choice you don’t want to be disappointed about.
Here are a few ways I have let my nose do the talking to find some of Italy’s best pizzas.
No English menus—Italy, especially throughout Rome, Venice and Florence is heavily inundated with the English language. Restaurants have grown tired of the loud English speakers the world over who don’t try to translate formaggio into cheese. While these menus can make traveling and eating easier for English speakers, more often than not, the food is for the tourists, and perhaps the birds too. If you think you have found a great pizza place to try, check to see if there is even an Italian menu on hand. If there isn’t, clearly the locals don’t think the pizza is worthy of trying.
Avoid pizza from main piazzas—Most big and central piazzas in Italy don’t have the best pizza. If you spot a pizzeria in a perfect spot to people watch at a sidewalk café and dine on the best of the best, you will find the view to be worth it, but not the pizza. Main piazzas are again catered toward the tourist set. Here you will find the pizzas expensive and unsatisfying for the most part.
More is usually less with pizza—If you find an establishment in Italy serving up 20-euro pizzas, you probably aren’t having the best of the best. You are just paying triple what the pizza is worth and with lack-luster taste results. Scan the menu first to see how much the Pizza Margherita is. This pizza is the classic pizza on most menus, a simple cheese and tomato based pie. If it is going for over 8 Euros, you are just being ripped off and most likely not getting more in taste than you paid for in the process.
Find the local pizzerias later at night—Italians eat late, really late sometimes. When I studied in Sicily, I noticed a crowd of locals hovering around some pizzeria every night, but later than I would eat. I decided to give it a go one night, when the locals were dining and ending up finding my favorite pizza place in all of Italy. If you are on the hunt for a local pizzeria, you won’t find it at 6PM. Get a snack to tide you over until 8PM or so and be on the look out for the crowded pizzerias.
Head South—No offense to the North of Italy, but pizza was born in the South. If you are looking for the best pizza and most variation, you have to head south. In Rome and Naples you might find a thinner crust, while in Sicily you might enjoy a heftier backbone to a good pizza. The pizza may vary to some degree, but in the South you will find pizza priced perfectly, usually only a couple of euros depending on toppings, and a tasty pie at that.
Be sure to keep these tips in mind on your next Italian getaway. Get there for less with cheap airfare to Italy from OneTravel.
Flickr: moniko moniko
Have you been to Italy? How did you scope out the best places for pizza?
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