Fifteen years ago, it was a struggle to sink your teeth into a decent margherita in Florence. Those times have changed. Top food publisher Gambero Rosso’s latest Guida alle pizzerie d’Italia alludes to a phenomenal pizza presence in Tuscany. Second only to the birthplace of the popular pie, Campania, the region now vaunts three pizzerias with “three slices” for pizza napoletana, the equivalent to three Michelin stars in the Italian pizza world.
Naples transplant Romualdo Rizzuti, who this July opened new pizza restaurant Follie di Romualdo (viale Europa 4) in the southern suburbs, also came up trumps with Best Italian Pizza Dough of the Year. Opt for the Napoli, a Campanian classic starring Cantabrico anchovies or, for seafood lovers, the Marinara topped with baby octopus.
The focus on niche ingredients is also shared by Giovanni Santarpia (largo Pietro Annigoni 9), whose 24-hour leavened dough served just below the La Nazione newspaper offices makes a pizza dinner delightfully digestible. So exquisite is Santarpia’s margherita napoletana that the tempting alternatives, like Burrata and Truffle or Radicchio, Speck and Taleggio, never seem to happen in my case.
A relative newcomer to the Tuscan capital is Marco Manzi’s Giotto (via Veracini 22D), in the San Jacopino neighbourhood (see page 32 for more on the area). A winner of the Pizza World Cup and still only in his mid-twenties, the Ischia-born pizzaiolo is as qualified as they come with a membership to the Real Pizza Napoletana Club. It’s a “must book in advance” elegant outpost that does a roaring trade in the tastiest of takeaways.
Receiving the top accolade in the Pizza by the Slice category is La Divina Pizza (borgo Allegri 50R), a five-minute walk from Santa Croce. Graziano and Roberta Monogrammi leaven their dough from 24 to 48 hours, only use Cervia Adriatic salt and ingredients from certified local producers. Enjoy the buckwheat pizza base and buffalo mozzarella toppings.
The Florentine staff favourites include Simbiosi (via de’ Ginori 56R), Fratelli Cuore at Santa Maria Novella station and Sud at Mercato Centrale Firenze.