Forward: This article was provided to us by Candi Cane Canncel, a writer and blogger from Miami Beach. For may of us who truly have a “relationship with pizza, and maybe even the pizza maker.” Enjoy!
My 40th Birthday was fast approaching and I wanted to do something spectacular and out of the ordinary to celebrate. I had traveled alone before in the States but had never boarded a plane and flew out of the Country for a solo adventure. What better way to celebrate the start of my fourth decade then by embarking on a culinary journey- I booked a ticket to Italy.
Not really knowing much about Rome, I reserved a driver to pick me up from the Airport and deliver me to my hotel. At €55 it was a bit steep but in the end well worth it as he took me on a mini tour of the area near my hotel and pointed out his favorite places, even stopping to take me for an espresso at his most loved café. Before he dropped me off, he stopped in front of PizzaRe at Via di Ripetta 14.
His face took on a solemn expression as he said in his beautiful Italian accent, “you must go here. This is the absolute best pizza in all of Rome”.
I had already planned to eat my way through this holiday and pizza being my favorite food, I took him seriously.
The Hotel Centrale at Via Laurina 34 ended up being a wonderful choice for my stay as it was halfway between the Spanish Steps and Piazza del Popolo. The Concierge, Gian Piero was an absolute doll having given me a map of the city and highlighting “must-see” attractions. After an overwhelmingly beautiful day of trekking around this ultra chic city, I found my way back to PizzaRe.
I settled into a table by the window and ordered a glass of the house red wine which was a delicious Chianti and at only €3,50 well-priced. It was about 8:00pm and the place was quite busy and I happily noted most of the patrons were Italian. The dining room is simple with marble tables, wood chairs and is dominated by a huge brick oven by the entrance. The wait staff was warm and friendly and spoke very good English. As a vegetarian, I opted for the mushroom pizza €9. When it arrived at my table, I was taken by just how perfect it looked. The red sauce was tangy and rich, the mushrooms fresh and the smokiness of the crust, made this, just as my driver had boldly proclaimed- one of the absolute best pizzas I had ever had.
After a few days of glorious sightseeing and even more fabulous food, it was the last night of my trip. Every restaurant near my hotel was packed and the majority feature couples sitting close together enjoying an amorous evening. In one of the most passionate cities in the World, I was overcome by a strange loneliness and for the first time this trip, I wished I had someone to share this experience with or at the very least to have dinner with. I decide to forgo the romantic little restaurants and headed back to PizzaRe.
I took the same table by the window and ordered the house red. I glanced over to the oven and this gorgeous man is staring back at me. In the States a man of this caliber would be an actor or model but here in Rome, he is making pizzas. I smile and so does he. I order the Pizza Vegetarian €9,50 excited by the roasted artichokes that are promised to adorn it. I settle in and look out the window at the frenetic pace outside. The wine is delightful and starting to go to my head. I glance back at the Roman God pizza maker and he is staring straight at me smiling.
My pizza arrives. It is a huge decadent vegetarian concoction on a wooden slab in the shape of a heart! I had to clap. It was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen- truly too pretty to eat. Roasted sweet peppers were nestled next to thick slices of juicy eggplant and the most succulent artichokes I’ve ever seen. Incredibly fresh buffalo mozzarella topping this fabulous creation. I looked back at the just gorgeous pizza guy and he smiles broadly blowing me a kiss. Here I am my last evening in Rome stupidly consumed with being alone and a beautiful man I’ve never met before creates for me a heart-shaped pizza. Only in Rome.
The pizza was simply perfect, the 3 glasses of wine outstanding. As I get up to leave I stop by the pizza guy and say “Thank You” he looks me straight in the eye, the smile fading and says “No English!” Not willing to risk ruining this evening that turned out to be so incredibly grand after all- I smile again and head out the door into the sweltering night and back to my hotel, alone. But in love, with this pizza.
Via di Ripetta, 14 -Rome
Via di Laurina, 34-Rome
Candi Cane Canncel is a writer /domestic goddess originally from Miami Beach. She’s spent the last three years traveling the world working on board a cruise ship teaching cooking, entertaining and craft classes (and drinking a lot of wine). As the Sewing Editor of CraftGossip.com, she scoured the internet for the most up-to-date in sewing and crafting news. She was the Lifestyle Contributor for the Seattle-based Belltown Local.com. She is currently working on her first novel about her adventures on the high seas and lives in a small village in the Netherlands (seriously). You can find her at: www.candiland.com
Photo 1: Cafe in Rome by dshoots – Flickr
Photo 2: Candi Cane Canncel