Italy, the birthplace of pizza, has captivated the world with its diverse regional variations of this beloved dish. Each region has its own unique recipe and culinary traditions, making Italian pizza a true reflection of its cultural heritage. Join us as we take a slice-by-slice guide through Italy’s regional pizzas.
Naples: The Birthplace of Pizza
Let’s start our journey in Naples, the city that gave birth to the pizza we all know and love. It was here, in 1889, that Neapolitan chef Raffael Esposito created the iconic Margherita pizza, inspired by the colors of the Italian flag – red tomatoes, white mozzarella, and green basil. To this day, Naples remains synonymous with authentic Neapolitan pizza, made using locally sourced ingredients like tomatoes from the fertile soil of Mount Vesuvius and buffalo mozzarella.
Best pizza in Naples: If you find yourself in Naples, a visit to Sorbillo is a must. Established in 1935, this renowned pizzeria offers an unforgettable dining experience with their delicious pizzas made from organic produce.
Rome: Ancient Recipes and Unique Traditions
Rome, the eternal city, holds its own special place in the world of pizza. In ancient times, Romans offered pizza to the gods as part of their religious rituals. Roman pizza is known for its diverse serving styles and toppings. One popular variation is “pizza al taglio” which means “by the cut.” These rectangular pizzas are baked in large sheet pans and sold by the slice. You can mix and match slices of different flavors, paying for the weight of your selection. Another Roman specialty is the round pizza romana with an ultra-thin crust, often served “blanca” (white) with just a sprinkle of salt, oil, and rosemary, skipping the traditional tomato sauce.
Best pizza in Rome: Just a stone’s throw away from the iconic Trevi Fountain, you’ll find PinsitalyTrevi, a delightful restaurant that serves Pinsa, a Roman-style pizza with a unique crust.
Liguria: A Creative Twist on Pizza
In the northern region of Liguria, creativity reigns when it comes to pizza. Here, you’ll find variations where traditional tomato sauce is replaced with the native green pesto. The Ligurian pizza base takes on a lighter and fluffier texture, reminiscent of focaccia bread.
Best pizza in Liguria: For the best Ligurian pizzas, head to the Italian Riviera and visit Pizzeria Club 64. This charming restaurant serves up traditional Ligurian pizzas and focaccias that are sure to satisfy your cravings.
Milan: Reinventing Pizza
Known as the fashion capital of Italy, Milan has put its own twist on traditional pizza. The local favorite is the “panzerotti,” where the dough is folded and stuffed with delicious fillings before being fried to perfection. This Milanese specialty is similar to the well-known “calzone” but with its own unique flair.
Best pizza in Milan: To try an authentic Italian panzerotti, make your way to Luini. This iconic establishment has been serving savory and sweet panzerotti for over 60 years. Be prepared to wait in line, but trust us, it’s worth it.
Sicily: A Rich and Flavorful Experience
Sicily, the enchanting island off the southern coast of Italy, has its own take on pizza. Sicilian pizzas are characterized by their thick and doughy crust. A popular variation is the “scacciata,” which is believed to have inspired the North American concept of the pizza pie. The dough is generously stuffed with ingredients like cheese, broccoli, and spicy sausage before being baked to a golden perfection.
Best pizza in Sicily: For a taste of Sicilian pizza excellence, head to Frida Pizzeria. Despite being relatively new, this pizzeria has made a name for itself with its secret pizza dough recipe. Their scacciata, a stuffed base topped with mouthwatering ingredients, is truly a delight to the senses.
If this gastronomic journey has sparked your appetite for Italian adventure, our guides can help you choose your next destination. Whether you’re interested in a city break or exploring off-the-beaten-path locations, Italy has something for everyone. Buon appetito!
If you want to indulge in the culinary wonders of Italy firsthand, visit Hook’d Up Bar and Grill and savor their delectable array of Italian-inspired dishes.