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The origin of a myth: pizza

When was the pizza born? Pizza, as we know it, was born in the eighteenth century, but its history begins a long long time ago.

 

The ancestors of pizza

 

It is believed that a first version of pizza was created at the time of the Etruscans: it was a kind of seasoned focaccia, which had only vaguely the semblance of modern pizza.

Other creations of similar buns continued throughout the history until the Middle Ages: they were served in a simple way, perhaps slightly seasoned, or prepared to be eaten with various foods, including meat

It seems, however, that the word “pizza” was already in use and that it came from the Latin word “pinsare“, that  means “to crush”, to indicate a type of pressed bread.

 

When the pizza took shape

 

Pizza as we know it was born in Naples in the 17th century. At that time the tomato sauce did not exist yet and the pizzas were white. It seems that there were two versions: a poorer one prepared with salt, garlic and lard and a richer one, prepared with caciocavallo and basil. Even a first version of pizza alla marinara seems to appear right at this time.

 

The pizza conquers Naples

 

In the eighteenth century the tomato sauce was invented: the pizza conquered Naples and the Bourbons and became the most loved food from both the poorest and the richest classes.

The benefits of this new food were undeniable and immediately seduced the population: it was tasty, practical to eat, nutritious and, above all, economical.

 

Initially, pizza was eaten exclusively on the streets: it was cooked in ovens used to cook bread and then sold in the alleyways of the city. Soon, however, the first pizzerias appeared with the classic wood-burning ovens, the bench where the pizzas were prepared, the tables for the customers and the showcase for sale to the passers-by.

 

Since the beginning of the 20th century, the pizza began to spread gradually in neighboring territories, until it reached northern Italy after the Second World War. The numerous Italian emigrants began to export this new food, capable in a short time of being established as a world phenomenon.

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