Recently I talked about the excellent pizza napoletana in Naples, and I mentioned one of my loves, pizza bianca. Note the spelling: pizza biancA, not pizza bianco as I’ve seen others write.
The literal translation of pizza bianca is “white pizza” but you might see the term “Pizza Bianca” or “Pizze bianche” on a typical pizzeria menu anywhere in Italy. This indicates that the pizza is not “rossa” – covered with tomato sauce, and therefore the pizza is just the plain pizza dough base with the toppings indicated on the menu.
Pizza bianca in Rome, however, means something a little different in that you won’t find pizza bianca only in pizzerias, but you’ll find pizza bianca ready to be sliced all over the city at various forni (sing. forno) breadmakers.
Pizza bianca is just that: fresh, crusty, crackly, pizza dough sprinkled with salt and brushed with wonderful, high quality olive oil. They are cooked in (ideally) wood-burning ovens in long, rectangular slabs which are typical of pizza al trancio (pizza by the slice) in Rome. Pizza al trancio is definitely one of my favorite street foods in Rome.
Perhaps the most famous maker of pizza bianca, and rightly so, is the Forno Campo de’ Fiori, located in the famous piazza of the same name. When they’re baking you’ll often find the door directly to the forno open.
It’s a pretty nondescript place, from the outside, with a large wooden “FORNO” announcing its presence . After you enter, make your way to the crowded counters and request pizzas bianca. The baker will inevitably place his knife on the long slab of pizza bianca to indicate where he intends to cut. Use your hands to show how wide of a slice you’d like. You’ll receive a “scontrino” receipt with the amount that needs to be paid. Take it to the cash register, pay, and either return to pick up your piece of pizza bianca from the bread counter or if it’s already been given to you, now it’s time to eat!
Sometimes you’ll even peek them putting the pizza bianca into the oven.
This is one of my first stops when I arrive in Rome. I always underestimate how much pizza bianca I want and always have to come back later and get another piece. I suggest getting more than you want and then you can snack on it throughout the day!
Let’s get a closer look at pizza bianca.
or from the other angle. See that crispy, golden, crunchy oily surface sprinkled with salt? You’re going to pray to it in your sleep. I can’t wait for the next time I get to eat pizza bianca!
When you see pizza bianca in others’ hands, try to resist and NOT steal it from them.
Forno Campo de’ Fiori
Campo De’ Fiori, 22 – Vicolo del Gallo, 14
- Ready to make your own pizza bianca? Try this recipe at Serious Eats for Pizza Bianca
- Or if you’re coming to Rome, here’s two more Roman forni and their pizza bianca to try
This looks so delicious! Makes me want to board a plane to Rome ASAP! :)
anna l'americana says
OMG do I miss that! Used to stop by the “forno” in Pzza Trilussa on the way to the school bus (on Lungotevere) and pick up pizza bianca for breakfast every day – very traditional. Most times at that hour it would still be hot from their wood burning overn and people would be lining up for it. Sadly, that forno is now a birreria for tourists.
Also traditional in Rome is (was?) pizza rossa – the same dough painted with a very thin layer of tomato sauce, barely tinting it red. The sauce is spread so thin it dries completely in the baking process and doesn’t drip or run off….OH LORDY YUM.
For any of you here in the US within reach of an O’Naturals, their flatbread is a bit (A BIT) similar to the pizza bianca version.
Danielle in Rome says
I’m studying in Rome this semester, and I cannot tell you how many times I’ve eaten pizza bianca! Though, I have yet to try the place you recommended…I will definitely have to check it out soon.
There’s a tiny hole-in-the-wall pizzeria near my apartment here that serves a pretty great version though…it basically melts in your mouth. Heavenly :)
I had no idea that pizza bianca isn’t eaten all throughout Italy! Makes me love Rome even more ;)
Barbara: Art and Barb Live in Italy! says
Pizza bianca is my favorite – and those pictures just make me want to fire up the oven right now!
nyc/caribbean ragazza says
One of the best places in my ‘hood!
Pizza Bianca is hands down my absolute most favorite most yummy delicious part of going to Italia. Once I start eating it I cannot stop. Sometimes my mom will make us some and it is gone in mere seconds. Thanks for the recommendation…we will have to try this place the next time in Roma.
I adore pizza bianca. My favorite. This spot is now on my list for my next visit! Thank you. :)
Is Da Giovanni at #39 on the Piazza still there? I used to practically go to Rome just for their pizza bianca!
Omg, I was there twice during my recent trip to Rome and I shall definitely be writing it up too! As well as their fantastic bianca, I adored their rossa too! I wish the internet had taste-o-vision!
woo! i have an on-going love affair with two things: pizza bianca and pizza napoletana. i’m currently studying the culture and politics of food in rome. for my class, we have to study and produce an italian artisanal food. i’m doing pizza bianca, and the guys at the forno at the campo dei fiori are letting me in the kitchen! they have the best pizza bianca i’ve eaten in rome. i’ll be posting a full recap on my blog. thanks for giving this simple food the recognition it deserves!
Rachel @ Boots in the Oven says
Love it. Their pizza bianca is so delicious, as is their pizza rossa! Thanks for the lovely pics and the trip down memory lane.
I’ve never experienced pizza bianca, but I’m addicted to Ligurian Focaccia… They look very similar. What, exactly, is the difference?
This brings back memories of Rome…really loved the Pizza Bianca, in fact it rarely made it home on some days..too hard to resist.
The Pane Casareccio of Genzano just outside of Rome is also really yummy.
Great post – I’ve been away from Rome for a month now and am really missing the pizza bianca! I especially love how the bakers always hand some to my daughter for free and without asking. She doesnt usually finish it, so mamma gets to try them all :)
Susan Van Allen says
I am salivating! The last time I was in Rome was in September, and I went to that place to the left of the Forno and got a pizza bianca stuffed with fig and proscuitto…AMAZING!
I live in Rome and I usually eat pizza bianca in the morning, usually at 10, but … who lives in Rome usually eat pizza bianca with mortadella! Delicious!
Just had some today….absolutely fabulous! Pizza bianca works for any meal- though always is best straight out of the oven!
I went to Rome for a day from Venice. I bought extra pizza bianca slices for my train ride back. SO delicious.
Giuseppe e Gloria Schepis says
First trip to Rome coming, and we are stopping here immediately!