Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Pizza in Rome: Forno Campo de Fiori
One of my favorite meals in Rome - so good that I ate it twice in the span of a week - came from a pizzeria and bakery tucked into a corner of Campo de Fiori. Contrary to what my Taiwanese American traveling companion believed, Romans do, in fact, eat pizza. It's one of the most common foods in the city, and perhaps the most famous. (Well, he was surprised that Italians actually eat pasta too, so perhaps he was not the best person by which to judge popular opinion.)
The trio of expert bakers at Forno Campo de Fiori have been serving pizza and bread for over 30 years, and they know their stuff - the place is usually packed. In addition to the six-foot-long pizzas, which are served by the slice and charged by weight, they offer a selection of both sweet and savory baked goods. But take my advice: skip them and order a slice of pizza for lunch. Forno is strictly takeout, so bring your chosen slice to the square itself, where you can munch happily away under a statue of the philosopher-mathematician Giordano Bruno.
Forno is known for its pizza bianca, a thick, chewy flatbread topped solely with olive oil and sea salt. I highly recommend it, though it's not what most Americans would consider pizza. That transformation happens when you add cheese and toppings to the crunchy base, and a magical one it is indeed. The pizza funghi was one of my favorites - the mushrooms were buttery, tender, and of a variety I couldn't immediately name, which an Italian friend later identified as porcini. They're common in Rome, but I'd never seen such large ones in the US.
My absolute favorite topping was the prosciutto, but it won by an extremely narrow margin. If you need to balance the saltiness of the pizza, Monday through Saturday before 2pm the square is host to a vibrant market - buy a box of fresh strawberries to finish off your meal and you'll feel spoiled after spending only a few euros.
So, to recap: Pizza at Forno. Grab a slice for lunch, because by the time dinner rolls around, you'd be lucky to find a pizza left to order (I tried - and I was not so lucky). You won't be disappointed - weeks after my trip, I'm still dreaming of their chewy crusts.
Forno Campo de Fiori
Campo de Fiori, 22
00186 Rome, Italy