Eating a pizza in Italy is as normal as having pasta or any other food for lunch or dinner (my friend Luca has it for breakfast in the morning!). You can either have it served during the day as a take-away pizza, cut into slices and wrapped up in paper (as you would get fish ‘n’ chips in the UK), or at night, as the typical round pizza, in restaurants or pizzerias which usually offer a take-away service too.
In Italy we don’t really “go out for a pizza”. We treat ourselves to dinner in a fancy restaurant and in the end it just comes down to deciding between having pizza or pasta (my friend Luca has both!).
I’ve tried pizzas of all kind and in all different places but, even after twenty years of living in Rome, I still wouldn’t know what to suggest as the perfect recipe for a pizza. Its no wonder why many people that come to Italy just can’t figure out the secret behind it all.
One may think that it’s as simple as following a recipe step by step, using the right ingredients and mixing them in the right quantity, but it isn’t. Making a pizza in Italy is a sort of ritual and from it derives some kind of sacredness in its preparation. The ingredients are only just components that vary from one pizza to another and I think it’s the way that you approach the dough that makes the difference. This is where being Italian comes into place.
You know that all Italian way of gesticulating which makes people say one word with their mouth and ten other words with their hands during a conversation with someone? That’s the proper way to mix the dough and give a pizza its shape! The greater the pizza maker’s ability to gesticulate with his hands, the more you will be not just eating the pizza but talking to it too!
After trying so many kinds of pizzas, mine like many other people’s opinion (this may not be the case of my friend Luca!) is that, the simpler a pizza is, the better it tastes. This is why the combination between tomato, mozzarella and basil of the reknown Margherita seems to be the most popular.
Regarding the best places where to find a pizza in Italy, all you need to know is that a restaurant where you will not find a decent pizza is a shut down restaurant!