Rome – San Lorenzo – a pizza on the other side of the tracks

One evening I took a walk to San Lorenzo, a student and working class district just to the north east of Termini station. Walking east along the side of Termini station till you come to this wonderful Rationalist water tower. Shortly afterwards there’s an underpass that lets you go under the tracks.

Neighbourhood map here. City map here.

Looking at the stickers on the backs of the road signs here, you shouldn’t be any doubt as to which football team is supported in the neighbourhood.

San Lorenzo is quite a lively area thanks to the students. This marching band was livening things up a bit when I was there.

My first stop was Giufà Libreria Café at 38 Via degli Aurunci to browse the books and sink a couple of aperitivos.

My main reason for coming here though was to check out this famous pizzeria…

Pizzeria Formula 1 (Elementary B), 13 Via degli Equi,

I started with a couple of fritti; a Fiore di Zucca (courgette flower) and a Suppli Nduja (rice ball with spicy sausage meat from Calabria), both good (B).

Then came their ‘Bufa’ (a margherita made with buffalo mozzarella). For me it was halfway between a fluffy Pizza Napoletana and a thin Pizza Romana. It certainly wasn’t as thin as the bufa I had at San Remo in Testaccio which for me remains the defining Pizza Romana. I still enjoyed it though (B).

A nice bar to go to afterwards is Rive Gauche, a 20s speakeasy type place at 43 Via dei Sabelli.

When you’ve been to Rome as many times as I have, it makes a nice change to experience a real residential neighbourhood like San Lorenzo as a change from the touristy areas.

Another neighbourhood away from the centre next…

3 thoughts on “Rome – San Lorenzo – a pizza on the other side of the tracks”

  1. I know San Lorenzo well as our Italian friends, Fabio and Rachel, moved there just over ten years ago and we’ve visited them frequently since.

    First though: Did you mean SAN Remo or DA Remo in Testaccio? In my book Da Remo (on Piazza di Santa Maria Liberatrice) is the best straightforward traditional Roma Pizzeria going, not just great Pizza but wonderful atmosphere. They have an offshoot down near Ostiense station (Katie Parla’s blog has the details).

    Formula Uno has definitely declined in recent years (the usual reason: too much publicity in guidebooks), our friends usually go to Pizza L’Economica on Tiburtino opposite the park. Their pizzas are cheap and reasonably OK, certainly better than F1, but the wine is appalling. There are more bars and restaurants in San Lorenzo these days than you can shake a stick at but the quality is very variable as SL has become an ‘entertainment area’ and at night draws in youth from all over the capital who only want ‘fast food’. But during the day it is certainly a a very pleasant neighhbourhood (if very scruffy) and very Roman.If you ever watched either of the series of ‘Romanzo Criminale’ that were on Sky a few years back (about the Banda della Magliana) you’ll recognise many of the locations used.

    Some favourites places of mine:

    Da Marcello (corner of Campani and Messapi – all the streets here are named after the ancient tribes of Latium): classic Roman neighbourhood restaurant empty until 8.30 then rammed until 10 pm every night with exuberant Italians, cacio é pepé, amatriciana, carbonara, scottaditto, coda alla vaccinara, even pajata etc etc. Not to be missed. Do NOT go to Osteria Jenny nearby.

    Tram Tram After passing to the next generation of the family it has now recovered from a shaky spell a few years back and is not only serving great food again but is better value. Some Roman classics but mainly Puglian recipes. Good wine list and wide selection of amari. (via dei Reti corner of Piceni). Does not have name outside just Trattoria Bottiglieria.

    Osteria dei Colli Emiliani (Tiburtino just past park), good value family run traditional trattoria with all the standards and some unusual dishes too.

    I Frattelli (corner of Umbri and Ernici – just down from Bar dei Brutti) pizzas, standards and modern dishes too, a better more refined cooking than most trattorie.

    La Tana Sarda (Tibutino also on Sardi) Roman classics and Sardinian dishes. Reliable.

    I Porchettoni: Branch of the Trattoria Pigneto, both owned by a traditional porchetta producer in Ariccia, generous Roman pasta dishes and very good porchetta. Very good value. Owner does not seem to have been successful in fulfilling his ambition (as told to Katie Parla) of organising toga parties.

    Trattoria Pommidoro (Volsci/Sanniti) More upmarket traditional restaurant, better than your average tratt. Quieter and with good service. Game in season.

    There are wine bars in SL now but they’re often the kind of place where you get handed tasting notes with your glass. My favourite watering hole is Bar dei Brutti (The Ugly People’s Bar) on Volsci by the church. The only drawback is an inexplicable fondness for playing Phil Collins. Apparently in Italy he’s thought to be cool. Oddio.

    Bar Marani (57 Volsci) good place during the day, pleasant covered patio. Staff can be snarky.

    1. Hi Iain.

      Nice to hear from you. Thank you so much for all these tips. Unfortunately I don’t know when I’ll get to try them. The posts I’m currently writing are from May 2018. Yes, I’m that far behind!

      Thanks for the Da Remo correction, have edited accordingly. Once I’ve finished posting about the centre I’ll move down the east bank neighbourhood by neighbourhood and Da Remo will feature in the Testacchio post.

      There’ll be a around a dozen posts altogether and I still didn’t get to do everything I wanted to do! Pignato was one of those places I didn’t quite get to but I’ll definitely check it out next time.

      All the best, Raif

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