In 1950’s Dean Martin used to sing: "When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that amore". Quite a poetical definition! Pizza is a baked pie, a shallow crust covered with tomato sauce, cheese, sausage, olive and many other almost infinite possibilities. For many (like me for example) its invention can be compared in importance with the wheel, the television or the internet.
The term comes possibly from the expression pizzicare which means to pinch or to plug. Now let’s see its evolution throught history.
Traditionally is consider completely italian but the pizza could have been invented by the Phoenicians, the Greeks, Romans, or anyone who learned the secret of mixing flour with water and heating it on a hot stone.
When pizza was created? That is not so easly answered, since the Stone Age, in one of its many forms, pizza has been a basic part of the Italian diet. The earliest form of pizza was a crude bread that was baked beneath the stones of the fire.
The great poet Virgil during the 1st Century B.C. in "The Aeneid" describes the legendary origin of the Roman Nation and something more: " Beneath a shady tree, the hero sprad his table on the turf, with cakes of bread; And, with his chiefs, on forest fruits he fed. They sate; and (not without the god’s command). Their homely far dispatch’d, the hungry band invade their trenchers next, and soon devour to mend the scenty meal, their cakes of flour…See, we devour the plates on which we fed." Evidence was found in Pompeii of shops, complete with marble slabs and other tools, which appeared like the conventional pizzeria. In the Museo Nazionale at Naples we can find a statue from Pompeii which because of its stance is called ‘‘I pizzaiolo’’ (pizza-maker).
During the 16th Century something very important happened in human history: Tomatoes were brought back to Europe from the New World! At the beginning they were thought to be poisonous, later the poorer people of Naples added the new tomatoes to their yeast dough and created the first simple pizza! Gradually the pizza achieved popularity amon the local people and visitors, that went to the poorer parts of the town to find the pizzaioli, the men that prepared the dish.
By 1889 when King Umberto I and his wife Queen Margherita di Savoia stayed in Naples for hollidays they asked to tray this specialità when a special kind of pizza was brought prepared with mozzarella, basil, and tomatoes (in the colors of the Italian flag) the pizzaiolo Raffaele Esposito called this one Pizza Margherita as a tribute to the Queen.
In the 20th century the italian immigration introduced the pizza in America from were spread all around the world…
When you will decide to visit Rome, do not hesitate to book your stay in YES Hotel near Termini station, and near one of the tastiest Pizza a taglio (Sliced pizza- typical Italian fast food) Antica Pizzeria del Secolo.