Santarpia owes its name to the well-known pizzamaker Giovanni Santarpia, the enthusiastic and energetic chef that opened the pizzeria in 2016. Right away, Santarpia became one of the most popular pizzerias in Florence, due to the delicious Naples-style pizza they specialize in.
Located right behind the Sant'Ambrogio food market, it is easy to find but the same cannot be said for tables. It is essential you book, which you can do through TheFork, any day of the week because the place is small and especially on weekends.
You go to Santarpia to eat pizza: the menu is on the short side, where you will not find a single pasta dish nor a salad. Among the appetizers, you’ll find fried offerings such as mozzarella in carozza and fried pasta with vegetables: it was a tasty start as we waited for the main dish, our pizzas, to arrive.
Everything is centered around pizza which is done with a high crust, as is traditionally done in Naples (for this reason you’ll find pizzerias advertising themselves as “napoletana” pizzerias to distinguish themselves from Florentine-style which is really thin crust), with the freshest of ingredients, many from Campania, the region where Naples is located. There are sweet tomatoes with the DOP quality protection guarantee, organic olive oil, and quality mozzarella cheese.
We found the pizza dough excellent: it is leavened for over 48 hours and it tastes delicious all on its own, as we savored the crust all by itself. There is one single type, no semi-whole wheat nor gluten-free choice.
We’ve been several times and therefore have tasted the classic margherita as well as more original options such as the one with “zucchini flowers, gorgonzola cheese and walnuts” and another with burrata cheese and truffles, and found all of them to be very good. Options are overall limited, particularly as far as vegetarian options go, but the choices available are enticing so we did not feel the need to request our pizzas to be personalized.
Among their desserts, we opted for the cheesecake and found it to be delicious and delicate, the strawberries on top melding with it to create the perfect balance in taste.
The pizzeria decor is casual yet elegant for a pizzeria, with a long cushioned bench along one wall. It is perfect for family dinners (they have high chairs for small children) or for a work dinner or evening out with friends. Yes, make a special note that it is only open at dinner time, not for lunch.
The staff is young and courteous, service was quite fast and attentive. We also enjoyed the music playlist they had on while we were there!
The only “negative” is that Santarpia is a bit on the expensive side as far as pizzerias go (2 appetizers, 3 pizzas, 1 shared dessert and water, plus service charge, brought the bill to a little over €60). Of course, the quality of the ingredients can be tasted and the creativity in the pizzas on offer merit the fame the young chef has earned over the years. You can check out the menu and prices outside before going in, if there is any doubt. In our personal list, we consider it among our top 10 pizzerias in Florence.
[updated August, 2018]