20 Pizzas to Eat in Italy Before You Die

To kick off Food & Wine’s exciting new partnership with Phaidon, Where to Eat Pizza writer Daniel Young created this exclusive Italian pizza bucket list to add to your life goals. It’s possible to knock out several iconic spots in and around Naples, but his picks will lead you to must-visit stops in popular destinations like Rome, Florence, Milan and beyond. To create a compendium of 1,705 best pizzerias operating in the world today, Where to Eat Pizza’s Daniel Young culled recommendations from over 1,000 experts in 48 countries—including 179 pizza informants in Italy. The culinary connector and writer behind the site Young & Foodish, he also organizes pizza marathons for between 10 to 750 fellow obsessives, from the London Pizza Festival to the Naples-Caiazzo Pizza Tour (next one runs October 25-26, 2016). And now, to kick off Food & Wine’s exciting new partnership with Phaidon, he’s created this exclusive Italian pizza bucket list to add to your life goals. It’s possible to knock out several iconic spots in and around Naples, but his picks will also lead you to must-visit stops in popular destinations like Rome, Florence, Milan and beyond. To buy the full bible, go to phaidon.com, and be inspired to dedicate your life (or at least year) to delicious pizza.

1. Pepe in Grani, Caiazzo (Campania)

Eat: Margherita Sbagliata a.k.a. Mistaken Margherita (mozzarella, cold tomato reduction and basil) “This is the best pizza on earth. No one can touch the skills of Franco Pepe. Every ingredient he uses is from the area. Each pizza tells a story: about the land, the people, the town itself.” – Chris Behr “Juicy bufala mozzarella from just down the road, gorgeous Vesuvio tomatoes, earthy local chickpeas, sweet onions from nearby Alife, pungent figs – all the flavors of Campania, made completely without machines.” – Jonathan Gold


2. Pizzarium, Rome

Eat: Pizza con le Patate (Potato and Mozzarella) “Garbiele Bonci has been christened the Michelangelo of Pizza. In his pizzeria Roman-style pizza al taglio (pan pizza-by-the-slice) has risen to levels of astonishing quality.“ – Orlando Bortolami “No one in the world does what Gabriele Bonci does with pizza by the slice. He takes a very soft dough made with Burrato flour from Mulino di Marino a famed miller in Northern Italy and bakes it in pans mostly without toppings. So the bread base is perfect. Then he adds toppings according to season and his own taste using fantastic quality salumeria and well thought out vegetable combinations. I think this was the first place in Rome I saw a chef source ingredients from outside the region because they were better. You never want to leave even though you’re eating on the sidewalk or leaning against a wall. An exceptional experience.” – Evan Kleiman Via della Meloria, 43; +390639745416

3. 50 Kalò, Naples

Eat: Marinara or Pizza del’Alleanza (mozzarella, lardo, onion, Romano cheese) “Ciro Salvo is in pursuit of the perfect dough. The pizzas are always well balanced and well cooked. It is the pizzeria I recommend to all my friends who come to Naples for the first time.” – Valentina Scotti “A ‘new’ pizzeria in Naples but with a great pizzaiolo perpetuating family traditions: Ciro Salvo. The pizzeria is extremely centrally located and out of the usual old Naples circuit. The service is good and the pizza among the best in term of quality of dough and choice of the ingredients. This pizzeria also mixes the quality of “traditional” Neapolitan pizzas with bolder and more innovative combinations. The result is always excellent in terms of final enjoyment.” – Simone Nicotina


4. I Tigli, Verona

Eat: Shrimp Sashimi Pizza “Simone Padoan has literally invented the concept of gourmet pizza, a pizza whose dough represents the base onto which he creates a dish.” – Jacopo Cossater “The pizza bases are perfect: in the rise, the consistency, the digestibility. The toppings are like real dishes chosen and put together on the basis of a constantly new harmonic game of colours, flavours, and textures.” – Alessia Gallian


5. Pizzaria La Notizia, Naples

Eat: Marghertia DOP “Pure, highest quality Neapolitan pizza. One of the best in Naples, home of pizza.” – Ken Forkish “Enzo Coccia is a master of the leavening process. The choice of the basic ingredients is extraordinary. The so-called ‘innovative’ pizzas with non-classic ingredients and combinations are excellent.” – Simone Nicotina


6. L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele, Naples

Eat: Margherita “Pizza down to the basics, but perfect. Great crust, great sauce, great cheese. No add-ons, no choices. Go. Wait in line. Eat. You will not regret it.” – Joseph Diliberto “The classic. The well-spring. The pilgrimage site. Not necessarily the best pizza in the world, but definitely the benchmark..” – Robbie Swinnerton “I love this place. It’s the real deal…tiled walls, marble tables, 2 items on the menu, maybe 3 on Fridays. YES, they only do two pizze! Margherita and Marinara.” – Ingrid Langtry


7. Pizzeria Fratelli Salvo, Naples

Eat: Cosacca a.k.a “Cossack’s Pizza” (cherry tomatoes, Pecorino Bagnolese cheese, basil) “One of the best pizzerias in Italy. Pizzas with excellent dough, exceptional care in the choice of the ingredients and a wine, beer and champagne list worthy of Michelin-starred restaurant.“ – Leonardo Ciomei “A fanatical quality in everything, from the raw materials to the service and the wine list, it is one of the best pizzerias in Italy.” – Pierluigi Roscioli



8. Pizzeria Gino Sorbillo, Naples

Eat: Margherita “A great tradition of real Neapolitan pizza. Brothers Gino and Antonio Sorbillo have decided to carry on age-old customs but with a very modern entrepreneurial verve.” – Martina Caruso “Pizzeria Gino Sorbillo embodies pizza as it has always been made in Naples, at an unparalleled price given the excellent products it uses.” – Davide Ricciardiello



9. Saporè, Verona

Eat: Mortadella, Misticanza and Pistacchi (Stracchino cheese, mozzarella, Mortadella, mesclun and pistachios) “Renato Bosco has the ability to interpret all styles of pizza with extraordinary technique. This is where you can find the widest range of high quality doughs in just one restaurant.” – Marco Locatelli “Different styles of pizzas, all of which are excellent. Renato Bosco is one of the greatest bread making experts in Italy and he transforms anything to do with water and flour into excellence. It may seem simple but in reality it is hard to never get it wrong. Renato Bosco never gets it wrong.” – Matteo Aloe


10. La Gatta Mangiona, Rome

Eat: Aromatica (Asiago cheese, asparagus, speck and pink peppercorns) or other seasonal pizza “The mother of all the ‘foodie’ pizzerias in Rome, with a well-risen dough, a Neapolitan look and a more Roman texture. Simple and carefully selected seasonal toppings make this pizzeria a secure haven.”– Andrea Sponzilli lagattamangiona.com

11. Sforno, Rome

Eat: Cacio e Pepe (Pecorino Romano cheese and ground black pepper); the Greenwich (Stilton and port reduction) “Dough made with selected flours, extremely long rise, beautiful contrast between crispiness and fluffiness, high quality ingredients.” – Giuseppe Carrus “Fantastic ingredients and creativity built on a solid Neapolitan pizza structure. Try the Cacio e Pepe pizza an homage to the great Roman pasta dish.” – Dino Joannides


12. Starita, Naples

Eat: Montanara provola (smoked cow’s milk cheese from Campania and tomato baked on a deep-fried base)“Unbelievable Neapolitan pizza from the city where it all began. The Don Antonio by Starita outpost in NYC is also awesome, but not quite like this. Long wait time is well worth it. Super fresh ingredients used, and if you opt for the lightly fried dough, it’s an even more special treat.” – Emily Grove

13. Da Attilio, Naples

Eat: Carnevale (star-shaped pizza with tomato, mozzarella, sausage, grated cheese and a ricotta-stuffed crust) “To me, eating a pizza here is like going back in time. So definitely the century-old tradition.” – Enzo Coccia

14. Gusto Divino, Saluzzo (Piedmont)

Eat: Burrata and Iberico ham pizza;  “Unlike others, Massimiliano Prete works on differentiating doughs and not just the toppings. He is without doubt the greatest. Humble and brilliant at the same time!” – Alessandra Tinozzi “Massimiliano Prete is without doubt the great surprise in the province of Cuneo where traditional osterias usually win hands down over good pizzerias. Massimiliano’s fortes are the tasting itinerary and various pizza styles that he proposes. The ingredients are predominantly local or in any case they are high quality. They range from Castelmagno cheese to Burrata from Gioia Colle in Puglia.” – Enrico Bonardo


15. ‘O Fiore Mio, Ravenna (Emilia-Romagna)

Eat: Romana (San Marzano tomatoes, mozzarella, anchovies and oregano) “The quality of the ingredients, the extraordinary good bases, and a really special setting are just some of the reasons I’d travel to eat at ‘O Fiore Mio. It is, without a doubt, the best pizza I’ve every tasted.” – Sasha Correa

16. Sud, Florence

Eat: Margherita; Marinara “A light dough with three types of flour, sweet tomatoes and real buffalo mozzarella. But above all the classic Neapolitan preparation perfected over time by Romualdo Rizzuti. “ – Aldo Fiordelli “Romualdo Rizzuti, a pizza chef from Campania, has undertaken a new challenge on the first floor of the Central Market to make traditional pizzas as they should be: Margherita, Napoli and Marinara. Every so often you may come across a seasonal pizza not on the short menu.” – Stefania Pianigiani


17. Piccola Piedigrotta; Reggio Emilia (Emilia-Romagna)

Eat: 1940 (white pizza with Mozzarella di Bufala, escarole, anchovies, capers, pine nuts, raisins and Gaeta olives); Carbonara Parisi (Mozzarella di Bufala, guanciale, Parisi egg, Conciato Romano cheese) “A very passionate chef who brings the north and south very well together on some of his pizzas. Giovanni Mandara stays true to the Napoli-style base but plays with the ingredients from the north and the food valley for many of his toppings, including even a pizza with Mortadella. – Adele Stiehler


18. Santarpia, Florence

Eat: crema di zucca (pumpkin purée, mozzarella and guanciale); calzone fritta “At his new pizzeria in the center of Florence, Giovanni Santarpia, a pizzaiolo from a small town near Naples, is maniacal in the control of the leavening process. The result is pizza at the highest level of lightness and digestibility, with the finest ingredients for the toppings.” – Sabino Berardino

19. Pizzeria Da Ezio, Alano di Piave (Veneto)

Eat: La Parmigiana dei Re (San Marzano tomatoes, mozzarella, grape tomato confit, grilled eggplant, Grana Padano chips) “With an incredible passion for the gourmet cuisine and the best raw materials, Denis Lovatel has perfected a dough which differs from any other for his “tonda crunch”. Very light, crunchy and easy to digest, such as the Flower Power, a seasonal special with fior di latte (cow’s milk mozzarella), crispy escarole, Colatura de Alici (anchovy sauce) and edible flowers.”- Marco Colognese


20. Perciasacci, Palermo (Sicily) Eat: Affumigata DOP (smoked Mozzarella di Bufala, battuto di salvia—a sage and herb paste, rosemary and spearmint; Lo Sfincione di Bagheria (thick-crusted Sicilian pizza with ricotta, anchovy, onion, Pecorino and bread crumbs); shown, seasonal squash blossom “Perciasacci is more than a pizzeria: it is a project to promote the resources and traditions of Palermo. Each and every ingredient is supplied by smallholding framers and shepherds in the district of Palermo. The pizzas reflect their rural culture, toppings are strictly seasonal, and there is no lack of tributes to local specialties such as sfincione and the rianata.” – Manuela Laiacona


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