Who Invented Pizza?

Food Stories

By Prezzo Team, 03 May 2024

Read Time

5 minute read

A Brief History of Pizza 

From Neapolitan Streets to Global Delight 

Pizza, with its irresistible combination of bubbly cheese atop a crispy crust, is more than just a popular dish—it’s a global culinary icon with a fascinating story. This versatile dish has travelled from the modest backstreets of Naples to the far corners of the world, evolving into various forms that reflect local tastes and cultures. Here, we dive into the origins of pizza, tracing its evolution and the pivotal moments that contributed to its rise as a beloved international food. 

The Beginnings of Modern Pizza 

Pizza stretches back to ancient civilizations such as the Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks, who ate flatbreads topped with oils and spices. However, the pizza that has captivated food lovers worldwide originated in Naples, Italy, in the late 18th century. Initially, it was a peasant’s meal; a simple, affordable, and quick snack for Neapolitan workers. 



Who Invented Pizza? 

While it’s difficult to pinpoint a single inventor, the credit for the modern concept of pizza often goes to the bakers of Naples. The turning point in pizza’s history came in 1889 when Raffaele Esposito, a local baker, created a pizza symbolizing the Italian flag: red tomatoes, white mozzarella, and green basil. This was in honour of Queen Margherita’s visit to Naples, which led to the iconic Margherita pizza that we know and love today. 

When Was Pizza Invented? 

The specific version of pizza we know today, topped with tomatoes and cheese, began taking shape in the 1700s after tomatoes were introduced to Europe from the Americas. Initially believed to be poisonous, tomatoes were eventually embraced by the poorer segments of society, including those in Naples, who began adding them to their flatbreads. The exact year of pizza's "invention" is murky, but by the 19th century, it was a staple in Naples. 

Where Was Pizza Invented? 

The consensus among historians is that the pizza as we know it—with dough, tomato, and cheese—was concocted in Naples. Before gaining popularity as an international sensation, pizza was a local specialty in this bustling Italian city, reflecting the vibrant street food culture unique to the area. 

How Was Pizza Invented? 

The evolution of pizza from a basic flatbread to a culinary masterpiece is a testament to human creativity in the face of necessity. The original pizza was a thrifty meal for the working class, utilising simple ingredients that were readily available and affordable. The genius of adding tomato and later cheese transformed it from a basic sustenance food into a delicacy that caught the attention of the upper classes and eventually royalty. 



Fun Facts About Pizza History 

  • Cultural Adaptations: As Italians emigrated around the world, they brought pizza with them, leading to various local adaptations. In the United States, pizza became a deep-dish in Chicago and a thin crust in New York. Brazil delights in pizza with green peas, and India enjoys it topped with tandoori chicken and paneer.
  • Guinness World Records: The record for the largest pizza ever made was set in Rome in 2012, covering an area of 13,580.28 square feet. This gigantic creation was gluten-free, catering to modern dietary preferences.
  • Pizza and Royalty: Pizza’s association with Italian royalty not only helped elevate its status but also spread its popularity beyond Italy’s borders. The story of Queen Margherita’s fascination with the pizza bearing her name sparked curiosity and imitation among the aristocracy across Europe.
  • UNESCO Heritage: Recognizing its cultural significance, UNESCO declared the art of Neapolitan 'Pizzaiuolo' an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2017. This recognition celebrates the traditional pizza-making process, which includes dough spinning and baking in a wood-fired oven.
  • Innovative Toppings: Over time, pizza toppings have evolved to include a range of ingredients reflecting local flavours and preferences. For instance, in Japan, squid and eel are popular toppings. 


Pizza’s journey from a Neapolitan novelty to a global phenomenon is a remarkable tale of culinary migration, adaptation, and innovation. Today, pizza is celebrated in countless variations, each telling a unique story of cultural fusion and gastronomic delight. Whether it’s a classic Neapolitan pizza, a spicy Indian version, or a hearty deep-dish from Chicago, pizza continues to be a favourite choice for millions around the world, proving that a simple dish can have an enduring and universal appeal. 

The next time you savour a slice of pizza, take a moment to appreciate its rich history—a testament to how a humble beginning can lead to global success. From street food to sophisticated dining, pizza has made an indelible mark on the culinary world, embodying the spirit of innovation and the joy of sharing good food. 



At Prezzo we’ve been thinking a lot about Pizza, and we can’t wait for you to taste our new range of delicious pizzas.  

Will you be enticed by the deep, cloud-like fluffiness of our Pinsa? Our new Pinsa pizzas are a dreamy culinary creation, stretched and gently pressed, each Pinsa crust achieves an airy finish that paves the way for a deeper, fluffier bite — it's a layered experience of perfection, inch after sumptuous inch. We’ve crafted a unique selection of pizza toppings, each designed especially for the Pinsa crust. 

Or could you be tempted by our crispy Pizzetta? It’s a smaller, crispier base that’s perfect for lunch, and, you can get any of our classic pizzas as a Pizzetta with a refreshing salad served on the side. 

Or maybe a comforting calzoni will whet your appetite? For those whose hearts beat for tradition, our classic pizzas are still as exceptional as ever. Whichever pizza you choose, let it lead you to Prezzo. Your table awaits — come and get to know our pizzas. Every inch of them, perfect.