History of Pizza

The History and Evolution of Pizza in Naples

When it comes to beloved culinary creations, few can rival the worldwide popularity of pizza. But have you ever wondered about the origins and evolution of this iconic dish? In this article, we will take you on a journey through time to explore the fascinating history of pizza, focusing specifically on its roots in Naples, Italy.

The history of pizza stretches back to ancient times, with its earliest roots found in civilizations like the Etruscans and Ancient Romans. These early societies made simple flatbreads with toppings that resembled modern-day focaccia. However, it was in Naples that the modern pizza as we know it today truly took shape.

In the late 18th to early 19th century, Naples became the birthplace of the pizza we recognize today. It was here that Neapolitan pizza, with its soft and pliable crust, was first created. What truly set it apart was the addition of tomato to the flatbread, a game-changer that transformed pizza into a culinary sensation.

The tomato was not native to Italy but was brought over from the Americas in the 16th century. Initially met with skepticism, it eventually became a staple ingredient in Italian cuisine and an essential part of pizza’s DNA. To this day, Naples is renowned for its authentic Neapolitan pizza, which follows strict guidelines set by the True Neapolitan Pizza Association.

Key Takeaways:

  • Pizza has ancient origins dating back to civilizations like the Etruscans and Ancient Romans.
  • The modern pizza as we know it today evolved in Naples in the late 18th to early 19th century.
  • Naples is famous for its traditional Neapolitan pizza, which features a soft and pliable crust.
  • The addition of tomato to pizza in Naples was a game-changer that contributed to its worldwide popularity.
  • The True Neapolitan Pizza Association ensures the authenticity of Neapolitan pizza.

The Popularity of Pizza in Naples

Naples, the birthplace of pizza, holds a special place in the hearts of pizza lovers worldwide. With over 800 pizzerias, the city is a haven for pizza enthusiasts and connoisseurs. Neapolitans have a deep cultural connection to pizza, considering it not just a dish but an essential part of their identity.

Passed down through generations, the art of making pizza in Naples is steeped in tradition and craftsmanship. Skilled pizzaioli meticulously prepare each pizza, honing their techniques to create the perfect combination of flavors. The result is a masterpiece that embodies the city’s rich culinary heritage.

The pizzerias in Naples offer a variety of traditional pizzas, showcasing the unique flavors and techniques that have made Neapolitan pizza famous. Classics such as the Pizza Marinara and Pizza Margherita remain popular choices among locals and tourists alike. These pizzas are known for their soft, pliable crusts and simple yet vibrant toppings, highlighting the freshness of the ingredients.

It is no surprise that the Neapolitan pizza-making tradition has garnered worldwide recognition. In fact, the art of Neapolitan pizza-making has been deemed intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO, further emphasizing its significance and cultural value.

“Naples is not just a city; it is a state of mind, and pizza is at the core of our culinary heritage.” – Antonio, Master Pizzaiolo

Naples pizza

Experience the magic of Naples pizza by visiting one of the many pizzerias that line the bustling streets of the city. Each pizzeria has its own unique charm, offering a taste of the rich traditions and flavors that Naples is renowned for.

  • Da Michele: Established in 1870, this iconic pizzeria stays true to its roots, serving authentic Neapolitan pizza that keeps customers coming back for more.
  • Starita: With a history dating back to 1901, Starita offers a wide range of delicious pizzas in a nostalgic setting, taking you on a journey through time.
  • Di Matteo: Founded in 1939, Di Matteo is known for its folded pizza pouches, providing a unique twist on the traditional Neapolitan pizza experience.

Immerse yourself in the rich culture and heritage of Naples as you savor each bite of a true Neapolitan pizza. Experience the flavors, the traditions, and the passion that have made Naples the pizza capital of the world.

Naples Pizza Today

Pizza continues to be an integral part of Naples’ culinary landscape, reflecting the city’s rich pizza culture. With a history dating back centuries, Naples is home to famous pizzerias that have been delighting locals and visitors alike for generations.

One such renowned pizzeria is Da Michele, which has been serving traditional Neapolitan pizza since 1870. Da Michele is known for its commitment to tradition and dedication to creating the perfect pizza. Their pizzas are made according to the strict production rules set by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, ensuring the authenticity of each pie.

Another popular establishment is Starita, which has been offering a wide range of pizzas since 1901. Besides its delicious pizzas, Starita is famous for its distinctive period ambiance, taking diners on a journey into Naples’ past. It’s the perfect place to experience the time-honored flavors of traditional Neapolitan pizza.

Di Matteo, founded in 1939, offers a unique pizza experience with its pizza portafoglio, a folded pizza pouch. This pizzeria adds its own twist to traditional Neapolitan pizza, satisfying the taste buds of pizza enthusiasts who are eager to explore new flavors while staying true to Naples’ pizza-making heritage.

These iconic pizzerias demonstrate the enduring legacy of Naples’ pizza culture. Baked in wood-fired ovens, hand-kneaded, and made with authentic ingredients like San Marzano tomatoes and Mozzarella di Bufala, these pizzas uphold the highest standards of Vera Pizza Napolitana. In Naples, pizza is not just a dish; it is a cherished tradition, an expression of art, and a testament to the city’s identity.


What is the history of pizza?

Pizza has a rich and ancient history that dates back to ancient times. The concept of pizza can be traced back to civilizations such as the Etruscans and Ancient Romans.

Where did pizza originate?

The word “pizza” was first documented in Gaeta, Italy in 997 AD. However, the modern pizza as we know it today evolved in Naples, Italy in the late 18th to early 19th century.

When was tomato added to pizza?

Tomato was added to the flatbread in Naples, Italy, when it became a local sensation. This happened in the late 18th to early 19th century.

How did tomato become a key ingredient of pizza?

The tomato, a key ingredient of pizza, was brought to Italy from the Americas in the 16th century. It took some time for the tomato to be integrated into Italian cuisine, but eventually, it became a culinary icon and an essential component of pizza.

What is Neapolitan pizza?

Neapolitan pizza is a traditional pizza from Naples, Italy, known for its soft, pliable crust and simple yet flavorful toppings.

How is Neapolitan pizza made?

Neapolitan pizza follows strict standards set by the True Neapolitan Pizza Association. These standards dictate the dough’s ingredients, preparation methods, and cooking techniques to ensure that each pizza is certified as a true Neapolitan pizza.

What is the significance of pizza in Naples?

Naples is widely regarded as the birthplace of pizza and has a strong cultural connection to this beloved dish. The city is home to numerous pizzerias, totaling over 800 establishments, and pizza holds a special place in the hearts of Neapolitans.

What are some famous pizzerias in Naples?

Some famous pizzerias in Naples include Da Michele, Starita, and Di Matteo, which have been serving delicious pizzas for generations and are known for their commitment to tradition and passion in pizza-making.

What is traditional Neapolitan pizza?

Traditional Neapolitan pizza is made according to strict production rules set by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana. It is baked in wood-fired ovens, hand-kneaded, and uses authentic ingredients like San Marzano tomatoes and Mozzarella di Bufala.

What makes Naples pizza special?

In Naples, pizza is more than just a food; it is considered an art form and an expression of the city’s identity. The Neapolitan pizza-making tradition has even been recognized as intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO.

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