The Origin of Pizza: Is it Authentic Italian Food?

We love pizza. And, it’s safe to say you do too. Statistically speaking, there is more than 1 in 3 chance your favorite is pepperoni too. Americans LOVE pizza. We eat approximately 350 slices per second! Why not? It’s delicious. If you ask anyone what kind of cuisine pizza is, you wouldn’t be surprised if they answered Italian. That isn’t wrong. Pizza gets its roots from Italy. However, its history is much richer than that and America has a big part of it. Read on to learn more about the origin of pizza.

Italians Didn’t Invent Pizza

Well, it’s debatable. If you get down to the brass tax of what pizza is – yeasted flatbread with various ingredients baked on it, then Italians can’t claim it’s invention. The ancient Greeks are really to thank. However, since Naples, Italy was founded as a Green port city, pizza was developed further in Italy.

At first, it was bread with oil and herbs. It wasn’t until later that mozzarella and tomatoes were added. The modern pizza, as we know it today, became popular in the late 18th century. Back then, it was considered street food. And, when Italy unified in 1861, the King and Queen visited Naples. They tried an assortment of pizzas but the Queen’s favorite was a pizza with soft white cheese, red tomatoes, and green basil. These just so happen to be the colors of the Italian flag too! That particular topping combination was then named after the Queen – Margherita.

When Did it Come to America?

Even with its popularity in Italy, it was still not very well known around the world. Yet, that all changed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Like many Europeans, Italians came over seeking jobs in America. With them, they brought their culinary culture. In fact, New York had one of the first documented pizzerias in 1905.

Yet, it wasn’t until the 1940s-50s that it was less of a foreign food, and more of an American favorite. Then, with frozen pizza invented in the 60s, everyone from everywhere could enjoy it. From there, the rest is literally history. We opened pizza chains, delivery, and made crazy topping combinations (like pineapple).

What’s the Difference Between Italian and American Pizza?

It’s safe to say that the modern pizza we know today is very different from the Italian/Greek flatbreads they came from. But, with anything that grows from different cultures, it’s really about collaboration. At Spizzico, we were born and raised in Italy but grew up in America. That is why we like the fusion of both cultures and their impact on pizza. Fun Fact: Pepperoni, America’s favorite, isn’t something you will find in Italy. Other differences? Italian pizza typically is a very thin crust, the sauce is more of a puree (compared to being slow-cooked), and the toppings are very minimal.

If you love pizza, and want to taste some of its goodness (and how can you not after reading this!) then give us a call. We offer Italian classics to American favorites. Many, of which, are influenced by our own childhood. On Mondays, we offer $8 large cheese pizzas.