how do you find the best pizza in italy?

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Two week trip to Italy. Amazing food, incredible wine, Italian leather. Where do I begin? Must prioritize… Pizza! How do you find the best pizza in Italy? Well, that depends on what region you are in, and, of course, who you ask. We wasted no time and went straight to the professionals. The American study abroad students. New York City, New Haven, Chicago… these kids know good pizza. The city of Florence and the Tuscan region as a whole is not known for its pizza like Naples is. Not a problem, though. We were directed to the best in town.

We strolled over the Arno across the Ponte Vecchio on a beautiful fall day and decided Gusta Pizza was a must for lunch. It was a little difficult to find on the small street, but once you see the Gusta Pizza boxes being carried away by some very happy looking people, you know you are close by.

Gusta Pizza serves superb Neapolitan style pizza that is second to none in its freshness. The brick oven cooks up burning hot individual sized pizzas extremely fast. The pizza is served so quickly you need a lot of self-control to wait for your circle of heaven to cool down. The flirtatious guys behind the counter are also known to make heart shaped pizzas for the ladies. The menu is small, but really not lacking for anything. We decided on a Margherita (tomato, mozzarella, basil, parmesan and olive oil) and a Gustapizza (cherry tomatoes, arugula, parmesan and mozzarella).

The cooks work fast and are gregarious and charming. Obviously, they take great pleasure in what they do and love the customers who appreciate their extraordinary pizza. We placed our order, received a number, and were fortunate to find a table opening up. This being Italy, obviously they have their own labeled wine lined up at the pizza counter. And, this being Italy, the efficient and conscientious staff was quick to wipe our table down before we could sit. With the Italians, everything has to be perfect for your meal. A pizzeria gets equal respect. The tables are actually large wine barrels with glass tops. Like graffiti on walls, they are stuffed with comments on the paper ticket numbers from all the satisfied pizza lovers, both locals and travelers from all over the world.

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IMG_3367Our number was called. My son was so excited (yes, that study abroad student recommendation…). “Mom, you are going to LOVE this pizza. It’s the best you’ve ever tasted!” He was right. I don’t recall ever eating a pizza with such a wonderful balance of ingredients. It has a super thin crust, yet the edges fluff up and have the ideal char. The cheese on the Margherita was delicious and gooey, and the fresh tomato sauce the perfect complement. My Gustapizza was excellent. They use only the freshest arugula (or rucola), delicate little cherry tomatoes, and thick slices of aged Parmesan cheese. Beautiful to look at. Better to eat.

IMG_3383When we got to the states I looked up reviews of Gusta Pizza. It seems we’re not alone in our praise of this popular spot. Nothing short of amazing. I only wish I had returned during my trip for another pie. Gusta Pizza prepares the kind of pizza that makes you wonder why all pizza isn’t this good. It’s the simplest, freshest ingredients, served up fast, hot and with a big Italian smile! Mangia!

Gusta Pizza – Via Maggio, 46r, 50125 Florence, Italy

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