Where do you go for that oh-so-thin crust pizza, crispy crunchy on the rim and sodden with heavy toppings in the middle?
Trastevere. Summer nights are vibrant, the piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere filled with a mix of performers, tourists and locals, gelaterias and cafes abound, the sound of chatter and laughter fills the streets. Just south of the square, San Calisto, Cave Canem, and Da Ivo await to fulfill your pizza dreams. Da Ivo is the most famous of these, and therefore always packed. Though some claim it has gone downhill, I quite frankly don't notice - sit outside on Via San Francesco a Ripa and watch the show walk by. The wait can be long for a table at Cave Canem and San Calisto too, but their pizzas are also delicious, huge, flopping over the plate in crispy, gooey goodness. (Service can be spotty in the summer, too, but just have some more wine.)
Winter, on the other hand, is hushed, and the gelaterias and enotecas around Sta. Maria in Trastevere are often closed. So where to go to recreate the hustle and bustle of summer months? Answer: Pizzeria Ai Marmi. (of course, go here in the summer too!) Back out on the Viale Trastevere, away from Sta. Maria, this spartan block of a store says only "Pizzeria" out front and is often called, I learned, the "orbitorio" or morgue, because of the stony marble tables inside. Last night (Thursday) a crowd of older Italian couples and young, huge families shared seating with 20-something touring Brits and an American ex-pat family. Squished cafeteria-style seating allows a good view of the giant wood-fire oven and the impressive stylings of the pizza-man, who made about 2 dozen pizzas at once, every few minutes. Service is brisk and a little rude (they *are* trying to carry about 9 pizzas at once, you know, please don't get in their way!). I'm a margherita girl, mostly, but pizzas of my compadres - the sausage and zucchini blossom pizza (no stems on these!), and the veggie (was it called otranto?) - were fabulous... giant chunks of sausage with whole flowers, or veggies sliced so thin that they crisped up in just those few minutes in the oven, topped with a fresh handful of arugula. My margherita was excellent, crust crisp-to-burnt right on the edges and gooey in the middle (use a fork for the middle, then fold the slices), and the red sauce was really tastier than you'd expect.
For about 10-12 euro a person, pizza in Trastevere can't be beat.
Especially recommended for: 20-somethings, people with kids, groups.
Pizzeria Ai Marmi
Viale Trastevere, 53-59
Tel. 06 580 09 19
**NB addresses on viale trastevere can be confusing. Pizzeria Ai Marmi is just north of Piazza Mastai, near the cinema and the McDonalds. It is NOT at the corner of Viale Trastevere and San Francesco a Ripa (which is 52-56 Viale Trastevere)!
Via di San Francesco a Ripa, 158
Tel. 06 581 7082
Piazza S.Calisto 11
(especially popular with summer students of Latin)
Pizzeria San Calisto
Piazza San Calisto, 9
can't find the number (but why would you call, anyway?)
Note: I have left out the very tasty and yummy DAR POETA - I'm waiting to go there again this trip so I can describe it better. But feel free to add it or any other pizzerias in trastevere if I've left yours out!!