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Pizza Origins and FAQs: Get to Know this Popular Italian Food Classic

Did you know that up to 40% of Americans eat pizza at least once a week? 

Whether you want it ASAP to satisfy a late night craving or you spend an evening in the kitchen making it by hand, the options are endless with this crowd pleasing dish.

Despite its popularity, few people could tell you about it where it comes from beyond Italy.

Our team at Pubblico Italian Eatery have put together this blog to discuss pizza origins and answer some of the most frequently asked questions about this popular Italian food classic.

Pizza Origins and FAQs: Get to Know This Popular Italian Food Classic

Table of Contents:

  1. The Origins of Pizza 

  2. Pizza’s Influence on Royalty 

  3. Pizza Comes to America 

  4. 5 Modern Trends in Pizza 

  5. Conclusion 

People Also Ask:

Why is it called Pizza?

It's widely speculated that pizza came from the Greek word “pitta,” which means “pie” ; however some historians believe that pizza came from the Langobardic word “bizzo,” which means “bite.” 

Latin texts dating back to 977 Italy have been entered into a 1598 Italian-English dictionary as “a small wafer or cake.” 

Why is pizza so famous?

While pizza has technically been around for centuries, it gained popularity around the late 19th century and early 20th century when italian immigrants first came to the United States. 

Pizza got an astronomical boost in popularity once Italian Immigrants settled in Northeast cities, and the food spread regionally after American soldiers stationed in Italy returned from WWII. 

Why is pizza round?

Pizza is mostly round because the shape is ideal for even cooking. The round shape also makes dividing the pizza pieces easier as it allows for quick-cutting swipes with a pizza cutter. 

The Origins of Pizza 

The word “pizza” is believed to have come from the Latin word pinsa. The term “pinsa” is also thought to mean “flatbread.” Some historians believe that Roman soldiers developed a taste for Jewish Matzoth while occupying Palestine and created a similar food they returned home. 

More recently, archaeologists have discovered a preserved Bronze Age pizza in the Veneto region of Italy. Early pizza dishes began to take on a more modern taste and appearance by the Middle Ages. 

The introduction of tomatoes in the late 18th and early 19th centuries sparked the modernization of the authentic Italian pizza we know and love today. By the time members of the local aristocracy got a taste of pizza, they couldn’t get enough, which led to the selling of this favorite dish throughout the streets of Naples. Since then, Italian cuisine would never be the same. 

By the 1830s, Naples had become the first real pizza producer and continues to do so today. 

Pizza’s Influence on Royalty 

Ever wondered where one of the most popular types of pizza got started? Margherita pizza is common and favored worldwide for its slightly sweet and savory taste. 

Margherita pizza typically consists of the following ingredients:

  • Sun-dried tomatoes

  • Mozzarella cheese

  • Salt

  • Fresh basil

  • Extra-virgin olive oil 

The most famous account of the origin of Margherita pizza states to have started in 1861. King Umberto I and Queen Margherita visited Naples in 1889, which was the capital of the southern kingdom at the time. 

Pubblico Italian Eatery Wood-Fired Margherita Pizza

Legend has it that while visiting, Queen Margherita was bored of the typical French food that was popular with the European royalty. To appease her, King Umberto summoned Raffaele Esposito, the most famous pizza-maker in Naples. 

Queen Margherita had Raffaele make three different types of pizzas for her, with the third being her favorite. The famous pizza-maker immediately named the pizza after Queen Margherita, giving him her Royal seal of approval. 

Whether this legend is true, Margherita pizza is a delicious staple in Italian cuisine, and its recipe and reputation have stood the test of time. 

Pizza Comes to America 

Pizza made its way to America when Italian immigrants came to the United States in the late 19th century. In the beginning, peddlers would sell homemade pizza on the streets in big, plentiful slices. However, grocers and small cafes also sold pizza to appeal to the Italian-American communities. 

It wasn’t in the 1940s that pizza consumption exploded across the nation. Soldiers returning from World War II were introduced to pizza while in Italy and brought back legends of its taste and recipes. 

5 Modern Trends in Pizza 

With the history of pizza comes new trends and takes on the famous Italian dish. Below are five pizza modernizations that are favorites amongst Italians and Americans alike. 

  1. Calzones

  2. Focaccia 

  3. Pizza al taglio (pizza rustica)

  4. Sfincione

  5. Flatbreads 


At Pubblico Italian Eatery, we specialize in wood-fired pizza dishes that combine homemade, classic recipes with contemporary influences on traditional flavors. We’ve created a menu that includes variations of classic pizza favorites for everyone to enjoy! 

Pubblico Italian Eatery Wood-Fired Pizza

Both of our Phoenix and Scottsdale Pubblico Italian Eatery locations feature a modern but inviting atmosphere, specious outdoor dining, and bars serving signature hand-crafted cocktails. 

Click here to learn more about the Pubblico Story. And check out our post on our curated Italian wine list which we rotate quarterly. 🍷

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