Pizza: A Brief History

Pizza, a Scrumptious and Delicious food you can find in every corner of the Globe!

Pizza has been one of the greatest dishes invented by man. Almost everyone in the world has seen, tasted and knows what a pizza looks like.

Pizza has been around since time immemorial. Archeologists have discovered the pre-cursors of modern pizza. Currently, pizza is one of the most popular dishes in the world.

Its various forms and toppings have been proof that you can pair and do anything with pizza.

Life is hard to imagine without this famous dish.

Pizza History Time Line 1!

1st millennium B.C.

Archeologists in Sardinia have found remnants of a flattened bread. It was thought that this type of bread was popular among the local population.

6th Century B.C.

Soldiers of Darius the Great (521-486 B.C.) popularized the baking of flat bread and topping it with cheese and dates. They used their shields to bake the bread.

3rd Century B.C.

A “flat round of dough dressed with olive oil, herbs, and honey baked on stones” had been quite a familiar fare to have it mentioned in Marcus Porcius Cato’s (234-149 B.C.) memoirs.

1st Century B.C.

Cakes or round bread that looked like pizza earned a place in Virgil’s “The Aeneid.”

1st Century B.C.

When Mt. Vesuvius erupted, the local population must have been eating pizza since archeologists found workshops, shops and other tools that were used for making and selling this famous bread. 

Pizza History Time Line 2!

The birth of the modern pizza was in Naples. This small town was a busy port and Europeans ply their trade or wares in the area. Tomato was added to the bread products being sold in the streets of Naples.

The flavor and the uniqueness of this dish quickly spread throughout Europe.

17th Century
Naples’ pizza became famous among its citizens and tourists.

18th Century
Queen Maria Carolina d’Asburgo Lorena (1752-1814), the wife of the king of Naples, loved her pizzas so much that she had placed special ovens for pizza making in her palace.

Realizing there was very good money to be made on baked round breads, the first modern pizza parlor was opened, the Antica Pizzeria Port’ Alba in the town of Naples.

As the popularity of pizza grew in other Italian towns, various pizza varieties were made. Neapolitan pizzas was one of the most popular pizzas at that time; a pizza with garlic, tomatoes and Naples cheese as its toppings.

The town of Bologna used meat sauce on top of the bread while the Venetian pizza had fresh vegetables and spices.

Pizza History Time Line 3!

Pizza Margherita was born. It was named after Queen Margherita, the wife of Umberto I – who at that time was the King of Italy.

Naples pizza chef Raffaele Esposito made the pizza with Mozzarella cheese, red tomato sauce and green basil spices. The colors represented the Italian flag.

The popularity of the pizza made Naples the center of the pizza world.

19th Century
The local population began to experiment with pizza. They added other toppings and made lots of different flavors. Pizza was so popular that pizzerias started popping up. It was said that the citizens of Naples had pizza for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Early 20th century
Pizza reached the United States when it was first sold at one of the pizzerias in Taylor Street in Chicago, Illinois.

Pizza History Time Line 4!

Gennaro Lombardi received the very first pizza-baking license for his shop at 53 Spring Street in New York City. This area became the “Little Italy” of the Big Apple. Lombardi is now known as the “Patricia dela Pizza” in the United States.

Joe’s Tomato Pies Pizzeria opened its doors to customers in Trenton’s Chambersburg section.

One of the oldest pizza parlors, Papa’s Tomato Pies, opened in Trenton’s Chambersburg.

Anthony “Totonno” Pero opened his Totonno’s Pizzeria in Coney Island, New York.

Frank Pepe opened a Neopolitan-style pizzeria in New Havev, Connecticut and named it Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana.

The Chicago-style deep-dish pizza was born! This pizza was invented by Ike Sewell in his restaurant, Pizzeria Uno.

Pizza History Time Line 5!

After the Second World War, soldiers who toured Italy brought back different recipes of pizzas after their tour of duty.

The commercial pizza-pix mix, Roman Pizza Mix, was born. It was the brain child of Frank A. Fiorello.

Celebrities and stars contributed to the rising popularity of pizza in the U.S. It was said that Jerry Colonna, Frank Sinatra and Joe DiMaggio pushed pizza further in the American psyche.

Dean Martin also helped in making pizza popular when one of his songs had this line’ “When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that amore.”

Celentano Brothers offered the first frozen pizzas. This enabled the pizza to spread around the U.S.

Pizza History Time Line 6!

Pizza Hut was born in Wichita, Kansas. When it became very popular, the company started to franchise its pizza restaurants around the world.

Pizza shop Little Caesars opened its first store.

Domino’s Pizza opened and revolutionized the pizza industry by offering home delivery service.

The first Papa John’s restaurant opened.

The “self-rising” crust was introduced by Kraft.

Neapolitan pizza was ruled as a Cultural Food Heritage by the European Union. All pizza parlors who are making the Neapolitan pizza must comply with the strict standards set by the EU.

Posted by Diane Araga, on August 30, 2012 at 9:00 AM