Artenio Testaccio

If you’re curious how, in spite of intense daily exercise, I keep my BMI right around (emphasis on “round”) 26, it’s simple: I eat pizza for breakfast, lunch and dinner. My source for the most important meal of the day? That depends. Some mornings I find myself in the centro storico where countless Romans scarf down barely edible cornetti chased with burnt espresso* at the city’s central bars. I hightail it, instead, to Antico Forno Roscioli or Forno Campo de’ Fiori.

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Just as often, I’m in Testaccio where I snag a drinkable (but not excessively so) caffè doppio at Linari or Zì Elena, followed by a pizzetta or 3 at Da Artenio, a stall in the Testaccio Market. While much of what Artenio sells is made elsewhere–the excellent sourdough breads come from wood-fired ovens in nearby Genzano, while the wonderful selection of biodynamic wines come from all over Italy–the irregularly-shaped pizzette rosse are baked in batches throughout the morning. Artenio stretches the dough into rough oval shapes, then tops with a brushing of tangy San Marzano tomato puree. The baked final product is chewy, with slightly crispy edges, with a touch of bright tomato sauce. There are also pizzette topped with sliced potatoes (Rome is a bastion of carb-on-carb foods, 50% of the reason I live here), and lingue (aka fruste, whips), foot-long ropes of dough studded with green olives, then baked. Owing to the Testaccio Market’s lively lunch culture, there are also assorted prepared foods like baked vegetable casseroles, as well as the occasional porchetta.

Visit Artenio for pizzette and more Monday to Saturday from 7:30am (ish) to 1:30 or 2:00. He’s at Box #90 near the fishmongers and the southwestern corner of the market. For the low-down on where I eat pizza at lunch and dinner, check out this guide from AFAR.

*expect some serious anti-Roman espresso commentary until half-decent, non-charred espresso surfaces somewhere in town