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Food and Drink

The history of pizza

You probably don’t think about it when taking a bite of a delicious pizza with a crispy Monte Pizza Crust, but this Italian dish has a long history. We are traveling three thousand years back in time when in the ninth century BC the people of the Etruscans settled in what is now the middle of Italy.

The beginning

The Etruscans baked flat pieces of dough with various kinds of topping on hot stones. Ancient writings by Greeks who lived in southern Italy at the same time show that they also knew a similar dish. A few centuries later, the Romans adopted this idea. In texts by the Roman writer Vergilius we see references to baking ‘crushed dough with olive oil and herbs’.


In the Middle Ages a simple dish became popular around the city of Naples: The ‘picea’. It was a round and flat piece of dough that was topped with cheap and easy to obtain ingredients such as onions, olives and bacon. By the end of the sixteenth century, tomatoes were also added. Some bakeries specialized in baking the ‘picea’ and were called ‘pizzaioli’ (pizza bakers).


The origin of the word ‘picea’, which soon became ‘pizza’, is not quite clear. In the Neapolitan dialect it means ‘snap’ and it can be a reference to how the pizza baker puts the dough in the oven. Some linguists refer to the ancient dialect of the northern Italian province of Lombardy in which the word ‘bizzo’ has the meaning ‘stuk bread’ or ‘stuk dough’.

The first pizza restaurant, the pizzeria, was opened in 1830. This first dinner where you could eat your pizza at a table was the Port Alba in the center of Naples. The first ‘home-made’ pizza is in the name of pizza baker Raffaele Esposito. ’s 1889 he received a request from King Umberto I and his wife Margherita to deliver some pizza to the palace. In honor of the queen, he made a special ‘Pizza Margherita’, a variant that we still know. Nowadays there are numerous varieties available and everyone can order their personal favorite, preferably with such a delicious crispy Monte Pizza Crust bottom’n original Italian recipe!