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The Origins of Pizza

Updated on June 14, 2013

A Fuzzy History

The actual origins of pizza are a little fuzzy. It is speculated to have started as a base off of Pita bread from the Mid-East, or from Foccacia, served as snacks in Rome 1,000 years ago. Another is that it was brought to Italy from Greece sometime during the first century. Early Pizzas consisted of flatbread, olive oil, and Mozzarella cheese. Tomatoes were first discovered in the "New World" and were thought to be poisonous.

Some believe that the word pizza comes from pinsa, Latin for flatbread, but even that can't be agreed upon. The original start for pizza is a mystery. The first pizza to make news was made by Raffaele Esposito. Queen Margherita visited him one day at the Pizzeria Brandi in Naples in 1889. He made her a pizza to represent the Italian flag. Tomatoes for Red, Mozzarella for the white, and Basil for the green. The pizza was an instant hit and Raffaele named the pizza the Margherita after the Queen.

Lombardi's Coal oven in use still today.
Lombardi's Coal oven in use still today. | Source

Coming to America

By the 1900's pizza had reached America. Mainly settling in places with high Italian population. Philadelphia, San Fransisco, Chicago and New York where it would be served in the little Italian communities. Soldiers made it widely popular after getting a taste of it while having served on the front in Italy during WWII. The demand for it became great and small cafes started selling to the public.

The first printed reference to "pizze" served in the US is a 1903 article in the Boston Journal. The first pizzeria is thought to have been Lombardi's in Manhattan. Started by Gennaro Lombardi in 1905 it is still open today. He uses the same coal burning oven and the same recipe he brought with him from Naples.

All Out War:Chicago vs New York

Well, okay... not an all out war per se, but the great debate lies among the love of pizza. Chicago adapted the Deep Dish style of pizza, and New York kept the thin flatbread style where pizza got it's origins. The great debate of which is better has started a war among pizza lovers.

Which Side Are YOU On?

Which style of Pizza do YOU like better?

See results


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    • SognoPiccolo profile image

      SognoPiccolo 7 years ago from Wilmington, Ohio

      At least you know what you love! I have to have my pizza the same way all the time too. I love New York style but I am a sucker for thick crust. I hate pizzas with cracker thin crust... If I wanted a cracker I'd eat a cracker.

    • Dave Mathews profile image

      Dave Mathews 7 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

      I love a very thick crusted pizza smothered with a spicy sauce,lots of fresh mozzerella cheese and smothered with my favorite toppings which must include:

      pepperoni,salami,portobello mushrooms,sundried tomatoes, strips of bacon and lots of anchovies, and drizzled with pure olive oil.

      Yummie,tasty,chewy,stringy, yes yes yes yes! Healthy and good for you, I say so, and if not who cares. It's delicious.

      Brother Dave.

    • SognoPiccolo profile image

      SognoPiccolo 7 years ago from Wilmington, Ohio

      you are very welcome! Thank you for stopping by to read!

    • Fullerman5000 profile image

      Ryan Fuller 7 years ago from Louisiana, USA

      Very interesting. Never really took the time to think about where pizza really came about. Thanks for this hub. I enjoy NY style the best.