PIZZA AL TAGLIO – Traditional Roman Street Food
When you visit Rome you may be confused when you walk by store fronts with large rectangular pizzas in the windows. You probably thought all Italian pizzas were the round, flat, wood-oven variety that is the Neapolitan look and what the world recognizes as traditional Italian Pizza. Well, I’m here to tell you, the Romans have something a bit different. Of course you’ll find the traditional round delicious pizzas in restaurants and pizzerias throughout Rome as well, but don’t just walk by and dismiss the window pizza that looks a bit different.
Back in the 1950s Romans began to bake these rectangular pizzas in electric ovens with basic olive oil and tomato sauce toppings. After some trials and tribulations to make the dough crispy and more easily digestible (Italians are all about good digestion), the Roman street food Pizza al Taglio was born. Today you’ll find it on every other street corner staring out at you through the windows of pizza shops, and with a wide variety of toppings and various thickness of dough. Take advantage of this Roman tradition and sample a bit of each as you wander through the city.
A few of my favorite places to get Pizza al Taglio are Boccaccia (Monti and Trastevere), Pizza Florida (near Largo Torre Argentina), La Renello Forno Antico Trastevere, Dar Poeta Alla Scala (trastevere) and Alice (throughout the city). Yes that last one is a franchise, but it doesn’t make it any less delicious. The flavors you’ll most commonly find are margherita and marinara along with varieties of toppings including sausage, stracciatella cheese, bufala mozzarella, potato, arugula, and if you’re lucky, pumpkin! You order these slices by taking a number and telling the server which kind you’d like, they’ll place their knife or scissors on the pizza you asked for and you indicate to them if you’d like it “piu piccolo” smaller or “piu grande” larger. Choose as many varieties as you’d like, then watch as they weigh your choices and put them into the oven for a quick reheat to restore the crunchy, delicious flavor. You pay for the weight of the slices you chose and generally won’t spend much. I’ve walked out of shops with a large box stuffed with enough pizza for 4 grown men for only 13 euros!
Head out onto the streets of Rome and enjoy the truly Roman tradition of the street food Pizza al Taglio!