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Visit, 2014-11-17

Living in Italy has its perks. When your Mom wants to visit, for example, you have an endless list of choices of where to spend a couple of days in la bella Italia. Firenze, Venezia, Palermo, Siena, Milano, Pisa, Bari, Cinque Terre, Bergamo and so forth. As I said, the list of beautiful, cultural, historical – and foodie – places in Italy is literally endless. All of them reachable in a few hours by train, but each one of them so different and unique. If it were up to me, I’d prefer to choose a little village, unknown on the tourist radar, hidden in the shadows of its larger neighbours. This time, however, we opted for the Eternal City of Rome!

Most likely it’s not true that all the roads lead to Rome, but it certainly is a fascinating city with too much culture on offer for a short period of only three days. Moreover, my family, who suffers from the same FO-virus (Food Obsession Virus) as I do, requested that I arrange all of the lunching, snacking, gelato-ing and dining moments. Having to take into account, obviously, each one’s needs and desires. Oh how exhausting a city trip can be!

One of the food stops we made will stay in my gustatory memory for, let’s say, forever. I had heard of this place before, my Gastronomic friends had told me about many a time – but it was still undiscovered by me. A little ways out of the historical center of Rome, even the taxi driver didn’t really know where he was headed to. “Via della Meloria? E dov’è?” (cit.) I told him we were looking for Pizzarium, the famous and glorious Pizzeria from Bonci. That didn’t help either, he probably was not very fond of pizza. I know, sounds impossible. Anyhow, viva the empire of the Internet. In just a few clicks, the taxi was on its way.

Pecorino, pomodori e lardo or funghi, rucola e ricotta affumicata ? Patate, burro e pancetta or melanzane al forno e cacciocavalo ? We had no idea what to choose.

Upon arrival, I understood why he didn’t know of its existence. It’s on the verges of the touristic centre, a few streets behind the Vatican Museums, hidden in a neighbourhood too normal to be touristically attractive. The street was filled with small restaurants and Asian take-aways, and completely empty. Analysing the street a bit better, we noticed that at the end of it, there was a line of about sixteen people, waiting. We eagerly approached – I was practically running – and there it was! A small and apparently mediocre looking Pizzeria. But never judge a place on its appearance! We went inside – it’s really tiny – and in front of us appeared the most beautiful and mouth-watering pizzas I have ever seen. Pecorino, pomodori e lardo or funghi, rucola e ricotta affumicata ? Patate, burro e pancetta or melanzane al forno e cacciocavalo ? We had no idea what to choose. Luckily, as normal in Italy, pizza can be bought al taglio, by the slice. So we got six. Sliced and warmed up for us in the stone oven, we went straight outside with our plates to stuff our faces with the best pizza ever. The chairs where we were seated were so tiny that a five-year old would have a hard time being comfortable. But it didn’t matter – the quality of the pizza was the only thing we were paying attention to. I guess the photos speak for themselves.

Bonci opened his Pizzarium in the early years of 2000. His ideals of high-quality ingredients, dedicated passion and great taste can be found in everything that he sells: the fragrant sourdough pizza and the crusty bread, Rome’s exquisite supplì (fried rice balls with various fillings), craft beers, the bags of Mulino Marino flour (the organic, stone-ground flour that he uses for all his baking) and his gorgeous cookbook (also available in English!)

Bonci, the Michelangelo of the Pizza, became famous when his delicacies were discovered by the ruling foodies of our planet – and the press. He recently opened a sweet and savoury bakery, Panificio Trionfale (a worthwhile 10 minute walk from the pizza place, just enough time to digest). When visiting Rome, promise me that you’ll pass by and have a slice of pizza (or eight) !

Pizzarium,
Via della Meloria 43, Rome

Panificio Trionfale,
Via Trionfale 34/36, Rome

 

Buon appetito!
Tine