Paraphrasing an Italian proverb: if you go to Rome, you should go to see the Pope. Well: if you go to Naples, you must go for the original, true, genuine, and not to say more, awesome, Pizza napoletana!
Pizza: a long history, an evergreen food classic
The concept of a dressed flat bread dates to Ancient History and it is shared by many civilizations.
Nevertheless, the “Italian job” with Pizza starts quite early! A sort of Pizza is quoted in Virgil’s Aeneid, written between 29 and 19 BC (to give you an idea, 100 – 90 years before the Vesuvius eruption which destroyed Pompeii and Ercolano).
The very first use of the word “Pizza” appears to be on a document from Gaeta, a town not far from Naples, dated to 997 AD. It is quite interesting that in this document Pizza already has the status of “important food”: twentyfour pizzas, (twelve at Christmas, twelve at Easter) are part of the feudal duties of a vassal towards the Gaeta Archbishop!
But the modern history of Pizza, and its unstoppable success which makes Pizza one of the most loved food all over the world, starts (maybe) with a queen.
Margherita: from the Queen of Italy to the queen of Pizzas
Maybe it is just an urban legend (Zachary Nowak, assistant director of Food Studies at the Umbra Institute in Perugia, has a theory for which the “Pizza of the Queen” story had been a later setup), but it seems that has been, literally, food for kings… and queens as well.
According to tradition the Pizza Margherita had been invented in 1889 by Raffaele Esposito, dedicated to Margherita Queen of Italy the tomato, basil and mozzarella (ingredients with the colours of the Italian flag). Historical truth or urban legend, in the following 30 – 40 years, with Italian emigration to America and the end of the Second World War, started to be very popular in the USA and, well: all over the world. But of course, the best Pizza is definitely still a made in Naples business.
Your Pizza, in Naples, now!
In Naples there are some great Pizzeria, and one at least is a must visit place: Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba is believed to be the world’s first pizzeria and a Pizza at Port’Alba will be a true and beautiful Italian (Neapolitan…) food experience!