The Fascinating History of Pizza

The Fascinating History of Pizza

Pizza, arguably one of the world’s most beloved foods, has a rich and intriguing history that dates back centuries. Its evolution from a simple peasant meal to a global phenomenon is a tale that intertwines culture, innovation, and culinary artistry. But how exactly was pizza invented? Let’s delve into pizza’s origins and its journey to becoming the iconic dish we know and love today.

The Humble Beginnings

The concept of pizza, in its most basic form, can be traced back to ancient civilizations like the Greeks, Egyptians, and Romans. They prepared a flatbread known as ‘plakous’, which was flavoured with toppings like herbs, garlic, and onion. However, these early versions were quite different from the pizza we enjoy today.

The Birthplace of Modern Pizza: Naples

The transformation of pizza into the form we recognize now began in Naples, Italy, during the 18th century. Naples, a bustling port city, had a dense population of working-class residents who needed meals that were inexpensive and could be eaten quickly. This led to the creation of a dish that was easy to prepare and portable.

Street vendors and informal restaurants in Naples began topping flatbread with ingredients like tomatoes, cheese, oil, anchovies, and garlic. The introduction of tomatoes, which had been brought to Europe from the Americas in the 16th century, was crucial to the development of modern pizza.

Margherita: The Pizza that Gained Royal Approval

The story of pizza took a significant turn when, in 1889, a Neapolitan pizza maker named Raffaele Esposito created a pizza in honour of Queen Margherita of Savoy. This pizza, topped with tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and basil, to represent the colors of the Italian flag, was named Pizza Margherita and marked a pivotal moment in pizza history.

Global Expansion and Evolution

From its roots in Naples, pizza began to spread across Italy and eventually around the world. Each region added its own flavours and techniques, leading to the diverse array of pizza styles we have today. From the deep-dish pizza of Chicago to the thin crust of New York and the exotic toppings found in countries around the globe, pizza has become a canvas for culinary creativity.


In conclusion, pizza’s invention was not the result of a single event but a series of evolutions influenced by different cultures and historical developments. From an ancient flatbread to a royal Neapolitan creation, and finally to its status as a global culinary icon, pizza has a rich history that adds to its charm and popularity. Its story is a testament to how a simple dish can transcend cultural boundaries and become a universal favourite.