The history of pizza begins in antiquity, as various ancient cultures produced basic flatbreads with several toppings.
A precursor of pizza was probably the focaccia, a flatbread known to the Romans as panis focacius, to which toppings were then added. Modern pizza evolved from similar flatbread dishes in Naples, Italy, in the 18th or early 19th century.
The word pizza was first documented in 997 AD in Gaeta and successively in different parts of Central and Southern Italy. Pizza was mainly eaten in Italy and by emigrants from there. This changed after World War II when Allied troops stationed in Italy came to enjoy pizza along with other Italian foods.
Some commentators have suggested that the origins of modern pizza can be traced to pizzarelle, which were kosher for Passover cookies eaten by Roman Jews after returning from the synagogue on that holiday, though some also trace its origins to other Italian paschal bread. Other examples of flatbreads that survive to this day from the ancient Mediterranean world are focaccia (which may date back as far as the ancient Etruscans); Manakish in the Levant, coca (which has sweet and savory varieties) from Catalonia, Valenciaand the Balearic Islands; the Greek Pita; Lepinja in the Balkans; or Piadina in the Romagna part of Emilia-Romagna in Italy.
Foods similar to flatbreads in other parts of the world include Chinese bing (a wheat flour-based Chinese food with a flattened or disk-like shape); the Indian paratha (in which fat is incorporated); the Central and South Asian naan (leavened) and roti (unleavened); the Sardinian carasau, spianata, guttiau, pistoccu; and Finnish rieska. Also worth noting is that throughout Europe, there are many similar pies based on the idea of covering flat pastry with cheese, meat, vegetables and seasoning, such as the Alsatian flammkuchen, German zwiebelkuchen, and French quiche.
The modern pizza, however, is believed to have originated in Naples, Italy in the 18th century. At that time, Naples was a bustling port city with a large population of poor working-class people who needed a cheap and filling meal. Pizza was the perfect solution, as it could be made quickly and easily with simple ingredients like tomatoes, cheese, and bread.
Pizza remained a regional dish in Italy for many years, but it began to gain popularity outside of Italy in the early 20th century. Italian immigrants to the United States brought the dish with them, and the first pizzeria in the United States was opened in New York City in 1905. Pizza quickly became a popular food in the United States, and many different variations were created to suit local tastes.In 1830, the first pizzeria was opened in Naples by Raffaele Esposito, a baker who made a pizza with mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce, and basil to represent the colors of the Italian flag. This pizza was named after Queen Margherita of Savoy, who visited Naples in 1889 and was so impressed by the dish that it became known as "Pizza Margherita."
Pizza remained a regional dish in Italy for many years, but it began to gain popularity outside of Italy in the early 20th century. Italian immigrants to the United States brought the dish with them, and the first pizzeria in the United States was opened in New York City in 1905. Pizza quickly became a popular food in the United States, and many different variations were created to suit local tastes.
Today, pizza is enjoyed all over the world and is available in countless varieties. From classic Margherita pizza to deep-dish Chicago-style pizza to thin-crust Neapolitan pizza, there is a pizza for every taste and preference. Pizza has become a global icon of Italian cuisine and is loved by people of all ages and backgrounds.