National Geographic Traveller (UK)
Q&A with Renzo Panattoni
Renzo is the owner of Pizzeria Ai Marmi, which has kept the Trasteverini well fed for 90 years. He explains the Roman take on Italy’s iconic dish
WHAT’S SPECIAL ABOUT ROMAN PIZZA?
A real Roman pizza base is made with flour, olive oil, yeast and a bit of salt — nothing else — and Ai Marmi has stuck to the same recipe since it opened in 1931. Pizza in Rome is thinner than in Naples, because it’s stretched more and cooked slightly longer; I cook mine for three minutes.
WHAT’S THE HISTORY OF PIZZA IN TRASTEVERE?
When I arrived in the 1960s, there were only a few pizzerias: this one, Ivo and La Torre (which is now closed). Pizza was first brought to Rome by the Tuscans, not the Neapolitans — they’d open shops selling cakes as well as pizza, and that’s how my family started, too.
WHAT TOPPINGS WOULD YOU RECOMMEND?
When we took over the pizzeria in the 1980s, we stuck to four: a classic margherita, marinara, mushrooms, and ham. Others were making very strange pizzas (like putting pineapple on top), so we had to change, too, but a capricciosa (mushrooms, ham and artichokes) is as far as I go.