Naples, the vibrant city in southern Italy, is renowned as the birthplace of pizza. The history of this beloved Italian dish is deeply rooted in the streets and traditions of Naples and it has since become a global culinary sensation.
The origins of pizza can be traced back to ancient times when the Greeks and Romans prepared flatbreads topped with various ingredients. However, it was in Naples that the modern pizza as we know it today truly took shape. In the 18th century, Naples was a bustling and densely populated city, and the working class needed a quick and affordable meal. This led to the creation of “pizza,” a simple and flavorful dish that quickly gained popularity among the locals.
The traditional Neapolitan pizza is characterized by a thin, soft, and chewy crust, topped with the freshest ingredients. The original Margherita pizza, named after Queen Margherita of Italy, was created in 1889 to honor her visit to Naples. The pizza was adorned with tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil, representing the colors of the Italian flag. To this day, the Margherita remains a classic and beloved choice for pizza lovers worldwide.
Naples has a rich tradition of pizza-making, and there are strict guidelines in place to preserve its authenticity. In 1984, the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (AVPN) was established to protect and promote the true Neapolitan pizza. The AVPN certifies pizzerias that adhere to the traditional techniques and ingredients, ensuring that visitors can experience an authentic taste of Naples.
To make an authentic Neapolitan pizza, the dough must be made from specific types of flour, water, salt, and yeast. It should be hand-kneaded and left to rise for a specific amount of time to develop its unique texture. The sauce is made with San Marzano tomatoes, which are grown in the volcanic soil near Mount Vesuvius, giving them a distinct flavor. Fresh mozzarella cheese and locally sourced toppings complete the masterpiece.
Today, Naples boasts countless pizzerias, ranging from traditional family-run establishments to modern eateries pushing the boundaries of pizza-making. Some of the most famous pizzerias in Naples include Da Michele and Sorbillo, which have been serving delicious pizzas for generations.
The popularity of Neapolitan pizza has transcended borders, and it can now be found in every corner of the world. However, there is something special about enjoying a slice of pizza in the city where it all began. The passionate dedication to preserving the authentic flavors and techniques ensures that Naples remains the ultimate destination for pizza enthusiasts.
In conclusion, the history of pizza in Naples is a tale of simplicity, ingenuity, and culinary excellence. The city’s humble creation has become an iconic symbol of Italian cuisine, and a trip to Naples would be incomplete without savoring an authentic Neapolitan pizza.