The History of Pizza: Who Made The First Cheesy Slice?

Wednesday, July 31st, 2019
history of pizza tomato basil mozzarella

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Have you ever wondered how the first pizza would have tasted? Think about it, There are endless questions here. Where did pizza come from? Where would someone have gotten the wacky idea to take a flat disc of dough, slosh some sauce on it, top it off with cheese and then throw it in the oven? How many pizzas were burnt before the perfect pizza was made? 

There are so many questions about the history of pizza as we know it. The history of this delicious dish is quite long but let’s take a look at the humble origins of pizza.

Pizza in early history

early history flatbread pizza

The origins of pizza in its earliest incarnation is dubious. What is certain, however, is that throughout the ages, people have added whatever flavorful things they can on top of bread to make it tasty, as you can see with these pizza history facts

  • Around 6th century B.C., Persian soldiers serving in the army of Darius the Great would bake flatbread on their battle shields and then added cheese and dates as toppings.
  • In the classic story, the Aeneid (written around 19 BC), which takes place during the Trojan War, there is a scene where Aeneas and his men are served “round cakes” topped with cooked vegetables.
  • Some historians argue that modern pizza was invented in Rome over 2000 years ago when Roman soldiers added cheese and olive oil to matzah (leavened bread) 

campania

The Birth of Pizza: Naples, Italy

While the archives of history are dotted with passing mentions of what could be pizza, the general consensus is that the Italian town of Naples is the birthplace of pizza as we know it today. Naples, located in the Campagna region of Italy, was a densely populated waterfront town. This was a city full of people whose livelihood was the sea and the ships that sailed across them. They depended on the marine industry and lived in close quarters as close to the shore as they could get.

Because of the crowded conditions (many of these workers would opt to live outdoors if they could not find available housing) and low wages, there was a high demand for food that was cheap, quickly prepared, and easy to eat. As a result, street vendors started to sell a type of flatbread with various toppings of whatever they had on hand: cheese, garlic, or tomatoes, perhaps.

Margherita: Pizza Fit For A Queen

margherita pizza history fact

As the street vendors were selling their prototypes of flatbread with toppings, history was about to take its course. In 1889, King Umberto I and Queen Margherita reached Naples as part of their royal travels.

The legend goes that the king and queen tired of their usual cuisine and sought out to try a dish they had heard the locals chattering about: something called ‘pizza’.

They found a small pizzeria and asked for several to try. As the couple sampled the unique gallette flat discs and the various toppings on each, the Queen found herself reaching for more of the pizza topped with a soft mozzarella cheese, basil and tomatoes. She was in love with the savory flatbread called pizza and loudly announced her delight.

Her favorite pizza was then named in her honor: Margherita pizza.  

Up Next: The History of Pizza In America

While pizza earned a spot as a royal queen’s favorite dish, it would be years before pizza truly cemented its place as a cultural mainstay in American cuisine. The introduction of pizza in the United States and it’s sensational rise in popularity will be covered in the next blog article. 

When You’re On Pizza Planet, You Gotta Have It!

If you’re craving fresh pizza, come to Pizza Planet in Amarillo, Texas. We have been serving some of the best pizzas in Amarillo since 1974. Give us a call at (806) 352-6666 or Contact Us by email. Check out our Menu, Deals, and Rewards and Order Online today.