Like gelato, not all pizza in Italy is made equal. And while there are endless opportunities to eat well in Italy, from street food to a panoply of regional dishes, sometimes, all you want is a slice of pizza. With that in mind, here are ten of the best pizzerias in Italy.
Di Matteo, Naples
It’s pretty hard to get a terrible pizza in Naples, but if you want a truly magnificent pizza—the world’s best, according to many locals—go to Di Matteo. It’s been open since 1936, and though it offers table service, most of its business happens on the street, as busy workers quickly swap a handful of euro for a folded up, fresh-out-of-the-oven pie wrapped in white paper. Don’t miss the pizza fritta, a ricotta and provolone cheese pizza that’s deep-fried.
Courtesy Pizzeria da Albert
Pizzeria da Albert, Trento
Though made using traditional Neopolitan methods, the pizzas at Pizzeria da Albert are anything but typical. Created by Alberto Pagliani—Italy’s best emerging pizzaolo according to Italian gastronomy bible Gambero Rosso—each pizza positively teems with toppings, from the Lucia (spicy salami, purple onions, piquillo peppers, and three types of cheese) to the Summer (tuna, olives, capers, fresh basil, mozzarella). A heads up: Pizzeria da Albert does not take reservations, so come well before opening time (noon on weekdays; 7:00 p.m. on Saturdays) if you don’t want to wait in line.
Ai Marmi, Rome
Disclaimer: This pizzeria is actually called Panattoni, but its better-known unofficial name is Ai Marmi (“marbles”), after its long marble counters. It’s got cafeteria-style seating, is perpetually packed and always understaffed, but the pizza’s so good that you won’t even care. Ai Marmi serves classic Roman-style pizza, with a thin, charred, crisp crust and a cheesy, sauce-laden middle. Though everything on offer is great, the standout pizzas are the margherita and the salsiccia e fior di zucca topped with sausage and zucchini blossoms.
Mamma Rosa, Ortezzano
Mamma Rosa was recently named the best pizzeria in Marche by the Italian gastronomy bible Gambero Rosso, and no wonder: Its Neopolitan-style pizzas are comprised of ultra-crisp, thin crust and perfectly stretchy dough topped with fresh local ingredients. All of Mamma Rosa’s pizzas are divine, but the standouts are the Sorriso (a traditional Margherita with the addition of red chilies and anchovies) and the Lucifero (topped with hot salami and hot peppers). Added bonus: There’s Nutella pizza for dessert.
Il Pizzaiolo del Presidente, Naples
This pizzeria was named Il Pizzaiolo del Presidente—the pizza of the president—after President Bill Clinton famously stopped in for a pie in 1994. Located in the heart of Naples’s centro storico (and just down the block fr
om Di Matteo), the pies here are classically Neapolitan: doughy, tender and elastic, with a crisp crust. They’ll make any
kind of pizza you want, but the simple marinara (tomato, garlic, oregano) and margherita (tomato, sliced mozzar
ella, basil) still reign supreme.
L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele, Naples
Though most of the p
izzerias on this lis
t are fairly no-frills, Pizzeria da Michele is purist in every way, from its bare-bones decor to its no-reservation policy and two-pizza menu (only marinara and margherita pizzas are served). But it’s a formula that’s worked since 1906, and it continues to be hailed by many (including author Elizabeth Gilbert in her novel Eat Pray Love) as home of “the world’s best pizza.”
Pizzeria Gino Sorbillo, Naples
For Gino Sorbillo, pizza is life: He’s a third-generation pizzaiolo who inherited his grandfather’s legendary Naples pizzeria, established in 1935. Having snagged the No. 2 spot on this year’s 50 Top Pizza Guide—in addition to Gambero Rosso’s best pizzeria award in 2013—Gino is doing his family proud with his oversized, soft-crust, Neapolitan pies, topped with the freshest local tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella. Not going to Naples anytime soon? Sorbillo opened his second New York pizzeria just last month, on the heels of a recent expansion to Milan. Next stop? Global domination.
After graduating from the award-winning Palazzo Pretorio in Poggio, master pizzaiolo Giovanni Santarpia opened his own eponymous pizzeria in Florence in 2015—and we couldn’t be happier. In addition to classics like margherita and marinara, Santarpia is also serving up innovative pizzas topped with pumpkin and even lampredotto (c**’s stomach), a nod to traditional Florentine cuisine. The secret to Santarpia’s heavenly pizza? He leaves the dough out to rise for 48 hours, making the pizza bases exceptionally light and airy.
Pizzeria Port’Alba, Naples
Having opened in 1738, Pizzeria Port’Alba is believed to be the first pizzeria in the world. Each pie is crafted perfectly with a just-thick-enough crust that’s somehow strong enough to hold the soupy puddle of melted mozzarella and tomato sauce at its center. While Port’Alba offers indoor and outdoor seating and full table service, grab a portafoglio (folded) pizza and enjoy it while strolling leisurely around its cute, bookstore-packed neighborhood.
Da Remo, Rome
Da Remo serves up Roman-style pizzas in a very Roman environment: crazy, frenetic and very noisy. Be prepared for claustrophobia-inducing crowds (mainly locals) and brisk, often surly service, all of which you’ll forgive once you sink your teeth into the beautifully charred, blistered, smoky crust of the thin pies. The classic margherita is excellent, but you’ll also want to try the pizza con fiori di zucca e alici, which is loaded with zucchini flowers and anchovies.
Antico Forno, Venice
Located in the Rialto market, Antico Forno serves both thin-crust, Roman-style pizza and thick, chewy, deep-dish pizza that’s hearty enough to satisfy you with one slice. Yes, that’s right—unlike many of the pizzerias on this list, you can actually order wood-fired pizza by the slice. Each one is topped with tangy tomato sauce, buffalo mozzarella, and seasonal ingredients, such as red cabbage, olives, and mushrooms. The calzones are equally good, too.
Nicola’s Pizzeria, Bologna
The Neapolitan-style pizzas at Nicola’s are gargantuan—enough to share between three or four people—but so delicious you’ll want to have one all to yourself. It’s the same deal: doughy base topped with a mess of tomato sauce, mozzarella and other seasonal ingredients, rimmed by a crisp, charred crust. The recipe has been perfected by the owner (Nicola) who was born and raised in Naples, and can often be found mingling with diners. The pizza ai frutti di mare (seafood pizza) is exceptional.
Pizzeria Spontini, Milan
Like Venice, Milan‘s not exactly known for its pizza, but this tiny, bustling shopfront in Stazione Centrale has been drawing crowds since 1953. Spontini only serves one kind of pizza: a fat, fluffy, deep-dish margherita, cut in regular or large (abbondante) slices, both of which could very easily satisfy two people. Insider tip: It’s more of a take-out place, so grab your slice of pizza and cold beer and take it to the nearby Parco Don Giussani, a short stroll away.
Pepe in Grani, Caiazzo
Though it’s only been around since 2012—making it a fairly new pizzeria by Italian standards—Pepe in Grani has already established itself as one of the country’s best (it even snagged the #1 spot on this year’s 50 Top Pizza Guide, a prestigious list judged by Italian culinary heavyweights). The pizza, which was described as “perfect” by Pulitzer Prize-winning food writer Jonathan Gold, is thick-rimmed and doughy, topped with heirloom tomatoes, mozzarella, olive oil and herbs sourced from local farms in Campania. Don’t miss the La Pinsa pizza, topped with sharp pecorino, Cilento fig jam, and tissue-thin shavings of fatty, flavorful nero casertano ham.