Where Was Pizza Invented? Who Invented It?

Updated: May 14, 2024

Pizza is one of the most popular dishes in the world. Whether your favorite slice comes from a hearty deep dish or a traditional thin crust, there are plenty of ways to enjoy it. Pizza is widely recognized as Italian cuisine, but have you ever wondered where pizza came from? Some of the most beloved pies are crafted with rich Italian cheeses, meats, and spices. Yet, the history of the dish is long and varied.

So, where did pizza originate? Today, we're unveiling the birthplace of pizza at Spinato's Pizzeria and Family Kitchen. Join us to experience the authentic origins of this beloved dish.

Where Was Pizza Invented & Who Invented It?

If you've ever wondered who actually invented pizza and made the first pizza pie, you may be familiar with the name Raffaele Esposito, who is often claimed to be the inventor of pizza. He was credited with the invention after serving a variety of slices to King Umberto and Queen Margherita in 1889 when they were visiting Naples. However, when Esposito created the first pizza, it was unlike typical meals consumed by peasants in and around Naples.

The working class in the Mediterranean region depended on inexpensive food that could be eaten quickly. Flatbreads with a variety of toppings were the perfect answer to these requirements. Flatbreads in various styles with an array of toppings were consumed by the ancient Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks. They were even common in American cities where immigrants from Naples had settled.

At the end of the day, the debate on whether Esposito is the true inventor of pizza comes down to each individual's definition of what makes a pizza. The pie that became world-renowned after the queen declared it her favorite featured mozzarella cheese, red tomatoes, and green basil. Perhaps other flatbreads hadn't yet consisted of the same flavors, but you can guarantee Esposito's version of pizza was inspired by existing flatbreads.

Where Does Pizza Come From Originally?

We now know that flatbreads inspired modern pizzas. The earliest versions of these savory breads can be traced back to the ancient civilizations of Egypt and Greece thousands of years ago. Some of these breads were topped with cheeses, spices, and fruits. The people of ancient Greece ate a type of food called plakous, a flatbread topped with cheese, onion, garlic, and herbs. In Naples, workers ate flatbreads topped with cheese, tomatoes, oil, garlic, and anchovies. While all of these creations were similar to pizza in many ways, at that time, the term pizza still hadn't been coined. The use of sauce on the pies came much later, and is what many say designates the invention of pizza. Naples became part of Italy in 1861, and a couple of decades later, pizza was officially invented.

So, where was does pizza come from? Officially, the delectable pies were invented in Naples, Italy. While the inspiration for the pizza existed long before it became recognized, the version served by Esposito is likely to most closely resemble the pies we know and love today. If you have any questions about Spinato's Pizza, please visit one of Our Locations. 

The History of Pizza Coming to America

The origin of pizza in America is far less contested. The first pizzeria opened in America in 1905 in New York.

The dish was undoubtedly introduced by Italian immigrants long before this occurrence, however. Various flatbreads with delicious toppings have existed throughout the Mediterranean region and various countries where these individuals settled for centuries. While we may never know for sure where the first piece of pizza was served, we can say with confidence that a chance encounter between an Italian chef and royalty popularized pizza.

Have a Taste of History at Spinato's

No matter where it was invented, there's no denying that pizza is a delicious dish beloved by diners worldwide. At Spinato's, we've spent over 40 years crafting pizzas made with artisan ingredients to deliver rich Italian tastes our guests adore. Order online or visit one of our six locations in and around Phoenix to get a taste of history in pizzas that range from classic Chicago-style dishes to unique Arizona creations. Plus, you can now get our famous pizzas and pastas brought in for your events with Spinato's catering!

Image Credit: massimofusaro, Shutterstock