World Pizza Day, which is celebrated today 17 January, was established in 2018 to celebrate Neapolitan pizza, recognized by UNESCO as an intangible heritage of humanity. The date is not random: January 17th is the day of Sant'Antonio Abate, patron saint of fire and, traditionally, also of pizza chefs.

The history of pizza is long and complex, but it can be said that it originated in Italy, in the south of the peninsula, between the Neolithic and the Bronze Age. In those times, in fact, dough of toasted cereals or unleavened bread, without leavening, began to be cooked on stone.

Over the centuries, pizza has undergone various evolutions, until arriving at the shape and taste we know today. The first real union between pasta and tomato (initially welcomed with distrust) occurred in the mid-eighteenth century in the Kingdom of Naples.

In Naples, pizza was very popular both among the poorest Neapolitans and among the nobles, including the Bourbon sovereigns. The recipe for traditional Neapolitan pizza includes a dough based on flour, water, yeast and salt, which is seasoned with tomatoes, mozzarella and basil.

Neapolitan pizza was declared an intangible heritage of humanity by UNESCO in 2017.

The history of pizza linked to Naples

The history of pizza in Naples is closely linked to the history of the city itself. Pizza was a fundamental food for the Neapolitan population, both for the poor and the rich.

In the Middle Ages, pizza was a simple dish, prepared with local ingredients, such as flour, water, yeast and salt. It was often consumed as street food, and was sold by street vendors.

In the 16th century, pizza also began to be served in restaurants and taverns. Around this time, pizza began to be topped with other ingredients, such as tomatoes, mozzarella, basil and oregano.

Neapolitan pizza became an increasingly popular dish, and in the 19th century it was already an icon of Neapolitan cuisine. In 1889, pizza chef Raffaele Esposito created the Margherita pizza, topped with tomatoes, mozzarella and basil, to pay homage to Queen Margherita of Savoia.

The Margherita pizza became an instant success, and helped spread Neapolitan pizza throughout the world.

Today, Neapolitan pizza is one of the most popular dishes in the world. It is a symbol of Italian cuisine, and is appreciated by people of all ages and all cultures.

“Make yourself a pizza with tomato sauce on top and the world will smile at you”

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