It is perhaps the most famous dish in the world, but its homeland is Italy: the pizza was born in the Kingdom of Naples around the middle of the 18th century as an evolution of the focaccia, already known in many Mediterranean countries.
Since ancient times, therefore, Egyptians, Greeks and then Romans used to use different flours to prepare various types of focaccia, but it was in Naples that the pizza as we know it was created and also it was here that it was given that name, as transformation of the word “pinsa” which in Neapolitan dialect means “crush, crush”.
Over time there have been numbers of studies on the origin of the name pizza, which make it derive both from the Greek “pita” or “pitta” which means “baked” and from the German “bissen”, which can be translated as “bite, piece of bread”. “. But beyond its etymology, which in any case always refers to pasta, bread, and focaccia, the element that immediately distinguished it and elevated it as a unique dish of its kind is the union of pasta with tomato.
Imported from South America, tomatoes were first used as ornaments and then towards the 18th century they found ample space in kitchens, especially in Naples. Here, around 1730, the focaccia with tomato, garlic, oregano, and olive oil was experimented, which is what today we call pizza Marinara.
At the time this product was sold in the alleys of Naples and its surroundings and was consumed indiscriminately by people belonging to different social classes, but the national and then international and world success, it is said to have occurred on the occasion of the visit of the nobles of the House of Savoy in Naples in 1889.
Driven by the curiosity to taste pizza, whose fame had just begun to cross the Kingdom of Naples, Umberto I and his wife Margherita went to Naples and called Raffaele Esposito to court, that is to say, the most famous pizza maker of those times.
To give the queen the chance to test different tastes, the pizza maker made the aforementioned pizza Marinara, the “Mastunicola” with cheese, lard and basil, and another pizza with tomato, mozzarella, oil and basil that soon came baptized pizza Margherita in honor of the queen because her greatest appreciation was directed precisely on this pizza. It had begun to prepare and sell at an unspecified time between 1796 and 1810 but became famous after the aforementioned event of 1889.