The History of Pizza

Whether you prefer a big cheesey American-style pizza or a thin and crispy Italian pizza, it’s undeniable that this meal is delicious and hugely popular! Since everyone loves it so much (we certainly do), we thought we’d do our research into the history of this tasty treat. Read on for the story of pizza, where it originated and a few fun facts that you probably didn’t know.

Where it began

The beginning of pizza is much disputed, with Italians claiming it derives from focaccia bread with tasty toppings. However, Greeks also claim ownership of this popular dish, with their traditional large, flat, round bread topped with whatever they could get their hands on. And have you ever considered the link between the names pitta and pizza? There’s no way to really know where this cheesy delight originated, but we’re voting Italian since they make them so well.

After dishing up pizzas at home for many years, the worlds first pizzaria opened in Italy in 1830, with an interesting story to tell. Replicating today’s hot wood-fired ovens, pizzas were baked in an oven that was lined with lava from a local volcano, ensuring that the oven was hot and pizzas were cooked in seconds! This definitely sounds like a good way to get the pizza we’ve come to expect from an Italian restaurant, with a thin base and delicious melted cheese.

Learn more about the history of pizza through Go dine

The history of pizza as we know it

Pizza as we know it, with classic tomato, mozzarella and basil toppings, derived from a desire to create something that celebrated the Italian royal family, with the colours representing the Italian flag. Of course, this classic topping has varied over the years, with loads on offer today. The weirdest we’ve heard of are the common Japanese toppings of squid and Mayo Jaga (a mix of mayonnaise, potato and bacon). For a wacky pizza near you, try the Frankie and Benny’s Luxury Breakfast Pizza with everything you need to start the day on this familiar bread base. Have you heard of any weirder pizza toppings? Let us know in the comments!

A few pizza facts

In researching the history of pizza, we found a few facts that we think every pizza lover should know, including some evidence that pizza is actually good for you!

  • That tasty tomato topping contains lycopene, an ingredient proven to help reduce the risk of cancer. Next time you eat pizza, you can know that you’re not just doing it for your tastebuds, but your health too!
  • It’s believed that early pizzas were sweet rather than savoury. Nutella pizza, anyone?
  • The most expensive pizza ever made cost $2745 and was topped with edible gold. This makes Nico’s in Derby’s £7 pizza offer even more enticing!


If this post has left you peckish for pizza, we’ve got a loads of Italian restaurants over on our restaurant directory. Whatever your area, there are plenty of tasty pizzerias. Our favourites are Fire and Ice in Nottingham, Candystripe in Leicester, Vivo in Northampton, L’Oliveto in Rutland, Cucina in Derby, Gallery FortyOne in Leeds, Zizzi in Lincoln, and Vito’s in Sheffield.

If none of our suggestions caught your eye, get in contact, we’re always happy to recommend something tailored to you! We’d also love to know any additional fun facts you know about pizza, so leave a comment or get in contact via social media:
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