Exploring Italy

The Different types of Pizzas in Italy

Neapolitan-style pizza Margherita

t’s universally known that pizzas were invented in Italy, that pizzas are the best food EVER (yeah, no discussing that), and that if you show a picture of pineapple on a pizza to an Italian, they will squirm in disgust and insult your ancestors for reminding them that people actually do that.

But what many might not know, especially those who have never been to Italy, is that there are different kinds of pizzas. In this post we’ll be going over the 5 most common types of pizzas you can find anywhere in Italy.
(Note: Although the calzone is also commonly referred to as “pizza fritta”, or “fried pizza”, it’s not technically a pizza.)

Pizza Napoletana (Neapolitan-style pizza)

PISTACCHIO E MORTADELLA from “Starita”, one of the most famous pizza places in Naples

Let’s first start by visiting Naples, where pizza is an everyday food but also a way of living. The real Neapolitan pizza is soft and thin — easy to fold up and eat in the street if needed, like the famous “pizza a libretto”. The crust, which is thicker and ungarnished, is sometimes bubbly-looking due to levitation, and acts as a place to comfortably hold the slice in your hand.
Another fundamental characteristic is the perfect fusion between the dough and the toppings which allows you to eat everything in one bite (careful not to bite your fingers!).
The pizza has to be cooked in a wood-fired oven because the high temperatures and the short cooking time (60–90s) determine the final result.

Pizza Romana (Roman-style pizza)

Very thin, wide and with a rather crispy crust, this is how Romans love their pizza. This is closer to what most people (foreigners) are accustomed to when they think about “pizza”.

In the traditional Roman pizza, there is almost no crust, because the dough is flattened out with a rolling pin, which eliminates all the air created by the gases of the maturing and leavening process, leading to the so-called “cracker effect”, which is further enhanced by baking in an electric oven.

Pizza al taglio (Pizza “by the slice”)

Foto taken at an Alice Pizza, a chain/franchise of very good pizza al taglio

Probably the most common snack for kids after they finish school, the pizza al taglio is a staple of Italian street food. Pair this with a cold Coke or beer, an arancino and/or a supplì, and I guarantee you’re going to start speaking Roman. The pizza is usually baked in large rectangular trays, and generally sold in rectangular or square slices by weight, but you can also find them with an elongated oval shape. This type of pizza was invented in Rome, Italy and is common throughout Italy.

Focaccia (aka Pizza Bianca, or “White pizza”)

The focaccia is considered by historians to be the “first pizza”.
In ancient Rome the focaccia was offered to the Gods and in renaissance times it was consumed together with wine in wedding banquets. The tradition has survived modern times, just without the Gods part (unless you say “OMG!” which you will when you try real focaccia, then that might count).

It’s basically like bread, but richer because of the fats, oil or lard, used for the dough or seasoning.


Finally, we conclude this list introducing you to the “pizzette”, small pizzas made of puff pastry, mostly eaten at parties, buffets or aperitivi.

These mini pizzas really are small being around 3 inches in diameter, and often sport simple garnishes (sometimes only the sauce), though you can definitely find richer versions at certain upscale spots. The combination of the butter, and the fact that they’re bite sized pizzas just makes you want to eat entire trays of these little guys. If you every got to Italy you HAVE to try these (you can find these at most bakeries in Italy).

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