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Food & Drink Pizza for Dinner

Pizza in Italy is not junk food!

Pizza is a very popular dinner for Italians and for tourists. It is inexpensive and is a quicker and lighter meal. In most restaurants, especially in smaller towns and less touristed areas, pizza is served only at dinner.

Pizza for Lunch

In most towns, bakeries sell simple pizza slices for lunch. You will also find a pizza-like food in cafes for lunch, but this is not great pizza. Larger towns may have takeout-style restaurants that serve pizza by the slice for lunch. Or you may find pizzerias that serve pizza for lunch as well as dinner, but this is not the norm.

Pizza for Dinner

The best pizza is had at dinner time in a restaurant that specializes in pizza.

The best pizza is made in a traditional pizza oven, fired by wood. The burnt edge of the pizza crust shows where it got close to the flames. Because it takes a long time to get the oven ready, usually pizza is only served at dinner.

Some restaurants only serve pizza (e.g. Pizzeria Da Baffetto in Rome), but others serve pizza as well as regular dinner items. If you are having pizza for dinner, order one pizza per person. You might also order an antipasto to start with. The tradition in Italy is to eat the pizza with a knife and fork, not with your hands (as we do in the US)!

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Taverna Garibaldi in Levanto (Liguria, near the Cinque Terre) opens only for dinner and serves pizza plus a simple regular menu.

Pizza Menu

Most pizza menus have similar items, but you will find differences by region. In some regions, adding an egg to the top of the pizza is an option. Here are a few typical types of pizza:
  • Marinara - tomato sauce, garlic, oregano, basil (no cheese - good for vegans)
  • Margherita - tomato sauce, mozzarella, basil. The colors are red, white and green - the same colors as the Italian flag. This pizza was first in Naples made for Queen Margherita of Italy.
  • Cipolla - tomato sauce, mozzarella, onions
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A Vegetariana pizza from Taverna Garibaldi in Levanto (Liguria, near the Cinque Terre).

Pizza in Rome

Pizza in Rome has a thin crust and not much cheese. You will not find as many toppings as we are used to in the US. For example, they may offer pizza with onion, or pizza with zucchini - one topping instead of many. The pizzas are lighter and simpler. Rome pizza is my favorite pizza. You can find this style of pizza in other parts of Italy too - I have had similar pizza in Tuscany and in Liguria.

Many of the good pizzerias in Rome are very popular and do not take reservations. Get there when they open (usually 7:30), or plan to wait an hour or more in a line.

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A simple, thin Margherita pizza.

Pizza in Naples and Campania

Naples is famous for pizza. We found that pizza in this area has a thicker crust and is a bit more cheesy.

Example Menu

This photo of a menu is not ideal, but you can read the items. It is from Taverna Garibaldi in Levanto (Liguria, near the Cinque Terre), May 2018.

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