Where Is Pizza From? All You Need to Know

Tim Parry


Pizza is one of the most loved meals worldwide, not only because of its distinctive taste but many reasons back it up. It is a meal with an interesting history, and it has grown popular among Americans because of its taste. So, have you ever wondered where pizza is from? When you understand the origin of something, then you can relate to it better.

Our article discusses the origin of pizza in detail. So, let's get started!

Where Is Pizza From?

Archeologists have found baked bread that dates back over 7000 years ago. Pizza is a flatbread with toppings, so it could fall among the discoveries. Moreover, ancient people made food similar to pizza but did not term it as pizza.

According to historical data, some people added other ingredients to bread to make it more flavorful. But ideally, pizza is from Naples, Italy.

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In the 6th century BC, pizza was a common meal for Persian soldiers serving under Darius The Great. They baked flatbreads topped with cheese and dates as a fast meal while on the battlefield.

Also, in Ancient Greece, people made a flatbread called "gen," which they flavored with the best cheeses, herbs, onions, and garlic. Another reference to pizza-like foods that dated early was the food called Aeneid, which existed in 19 BC.

Some historians suggest that the origin of pizza can be traced to Pizzarelli, "kosher" for Passover and eaten by Romans and Jews returning from the synagogue. On the other hand, some trace the origin of pizza to Italian paschal bread. In addition, some flatbreads still present to date are from the ancient Mediterranean world known as focaccia, dating back as far as the ancient Etruscans.

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The word "pizza" came into existence in the 16th century in Naples. They used to refer to a galette flatbread as the food of the poor, particularly street food, and they only considered it an important Italian recipe later. It is said that pizza grew in popularity after the Spanish brought tomatoes from the Americans and started making a variety of pizzas.

Historians date back pizza Margherita to the specific event where Raffaello Esposito made a pizza to represent the Italian flag, but pizza existed long before that. The most famous type of pizza was the pizza marinara, where the ", Marinara" was created in 1734, but the Margherita dates from 1706 to 1810.

Since then, pizza has evolved into different combinations and a tomato dish topped with different cheeses.

Different Types Of Pizza and Where They Came From

a) Where Is Pizza Margherita From?

The origin of pizza Margherita dates back to an event in Naples, Italy, where most nobles were in attendance. King Umberto I and Queen Margherita were the main guests of the event whereby; they wanted to eat something out of their typical French dishes. A renowned Italian chef Raffaele Esposito was the first to make pizza at Pizzeria di Pietro.

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Legend has it that the state commissioned Raffaelle to make this delicious meal to honor the visit of Queen Margherita to Italy. The queen was served different pizza slices, but she fell in love with the one topped with ingredients resembling the Italian flag. Later on, the pizza was named after her, explaining the existence of the pizza Margherita.

Upon this approval, pizza grew popular and was respected with the notion that if the queen could approve of food considered to be of the poor, then it was a good Italian meal. As a result, Italians started accepting pizza as their own and ranked it the way they did pasta.

b) Where Is Hawaiian Pizza From?

The history of Hawaiian pizza is complicated; you might be thinking that this pizza is topped with ham and pineapples, and came from Hawaii, as its name suggests. It did not originate from Italy but is believed to have originated from Canada. According to the modernist book collection, a French Canadian named Sam Panopoulos invented the Hawaiian pizza in 1962.

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According to the book, Hawaiian pizza existed in 1957 through an ad whereby a pizzeria known as Francine Pizza Jungle in Oregon advertised what seemed to be Hawaiian pizza topped with pineapples, green bell peppers, and papaya. So it is safe to assume that Sam Panopoulos took the idea of Hawaiian pizza from that ad.

So, who should be credited for inventing Hawaiian pizza first?

As much as the two pizzas looked similar, the Oregonian one had different fruits but no ham. Hence, it is ok to credit Sam Panopoulos since the pizza he invented is the one we consider Hawaiian pizza.

Since its invention, pizza has changed to the liking of each customer. Some clients prefer something other than cooked pineapples and would rather go with toppings for classic pizza, such as green peppers, mushrooms, and ham.

c) Where Is Pepperoni Pizza From?

The history of pizza dates back to Naples, Italy, but the story is different for pepperoni pizza, as you can never find pepperoni as a topping in Italy. Instead, according to Michael Harlan Turkel, a host of the Modernist Pizza Podcast, pepperoni pizza originated from the Ezzo family in Canastota, New York.

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It was in 1906 that this family started making sausages and selling them pre-sliced. However, it was until the 1950s that a pizza place known as New Haven topped pepperoni on a pie, and since then, pepperoni, a spicy sausage, has become a pizza topping.

However, when Domino's pizza started preparing pepperoni, it became popular in America. Domino's was not the best pizzeria in most states, but they outplayed the pizza game in how they prepared and delivered it. As a result, they made pepperoni pizza so popular that they are currently known for making it.

In the 1980s, Domino's collaborated with the Ezzo sausage company, which delivered their sausages for pepperoni. Domino's pizza popularity grew with the popularity of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon, which positioned pepperoni as a favorite pizza topping. Turkel continues to say that pepperoni pizza is consumed by almost 50% of today's population.

d) Where Was the First Modern Pizza Made?

In the early years, pizza was referred to as a flatbread with tomato sauce as a topping. However, pizza did not become popular until tomato was brought to Europe; many people were afraid to use it as they termed it poisonous. So it was until the late 18th century that the poor people around Naples started using tomatoes as pizza toppings that pizza awareness began to spread.

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The first pizza was the marinara, a flatbread topped with tomato, oregano, garlic, and extra virgin olive oil. The name marinara was because it was prepared by the seaman's wife, known as "la marinara" she made the pizza for her husband after returning from fishing trips in Naples Bay.

The latter was the pizza Margherita, topped with a lot of tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil. It was attributed to the famous baker and chef Raffaelo Esposito, who worked at a restaurant called " Pietro e Basta Cosi" The restaurant was established in 1880 but has remained in business to date as Pizzeria Brandi.

Many pizzas have been made since then, some with different recipes, including other toppings. However, the rules have been set for making Neapolitan pizza. According to "Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana," which is the (True Neapolitan Pizza Association) founded in 1984, an authentic Neapolitan pizza must follow the following rules:

  1. You should bake the pizza in a wood-fired oven or domed oven.
  2. The pizza base must be hand-kneaded, rolled with a pin, or prepared mechanically.
  3. Use your fingers to roll out the dough.
  4. The dough should be at most 35cm in diameter.
  5. The dough should be one-third of a centimeter thick at the center.

Today there are many famous pizzerias in Naples where you can get both traditional and modern pizza. These pizzerias also serve as ancient historical centers, including Port'Alba, Brandi, Di Matteo, Umberto, and Trianon.

Frequently Asked Questions on Where Pizza is From

1. Where Was The First Pizza Made?

There is no exact date that explains when pizza was invented, but historians have narrowed it down to when it may have come into existence. Pizza is not complete without tomato sauce, so we must start with the origin of tomatoes. Pizza is an Italian food, and since tomatoes originated from the West but made their way to Europe in the 1500s, pizza may have existed after that time.

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A book dated 1799 describes the birth of pizza further by stating that pizza is a dough with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. It explains that pizza could have existed at around that time. In addition, the Italian census in late 1700 listed some people as "pizolas"(pizza makers) in Naples. That explains the popularity of the dish such that it needed a profession.

2. How Long Has Pizza Been Around?

If you think of Italian pizza, you should know that it has been around for a long time. Archaeological evidence proves that pizza has been around since 500 BC. History indicates that ancient people in Sardinia baked a flatbread that resembled modern pizza. Throughout Sardinia, people ate flatbread topped with vegetables, and there is also a reference to it called the Aeneid.

According to the world calendar, pizza festivals were celebrated way back in the 10th century, but we started regarding modern pizza in the 1700s in Naples, Italy. However, pizza started migrating outside Italy in the early 19th century, where it was spread by the ex-soldiers of world war II returning to their homes.

3. Where Did The First Modern Pizza Come From?

Antica Pizzeria Port'Alba is the first pizzeria in Naples to serve pizza. The managers began as street vendors in 1738, as at that time, pizza was considered a meal for the poor. The pizzeria opened in 1830 but is still in business to date.

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Lombardi's in New York City is the first pizzeria in America. It was formerly a grocery store owned by an Italian immigrant, Gennaro Lombardi, who opened it in 1897. Lombardi used to sell Italian cuisine to local factory workers, but in 1905 he officially applied for a restaurant license. He is also the pioneer of the famous New York pizza. New York-style pizza is different from Chicago-style pizza; it is a large pizza made using hand-tossed dough, resulting in a thin crust with a crisp outer edge.

4. When Did Pizza Come To America?

As discussed earlier, pizza was already in the United States as early as the 1900s. However, it was famous on the East Coast and in Midwest places like Omaha. , Racine, Wisconsin, and other areas. If we talk of where pizza grew into fame, we will say its the New york city.

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As much as Lombardi claims to be the first pizzeria in the United States, pizza historian Peter Regas negates it by saying there were other pizzerias long before. He explains that no solid evidence confirms that his pizzeria was the first in New York. Instead, Peter Regas believes other pizzerias opened across the river in the Borough of Brooklyn but were not licensed.

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Tim Parry

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