Slices Across the Ages: The History of Pizza

There was once a world without gourmet pizza in it, and we don’t like to think about it for too long! Pizza may not have been a part of the universe at birth, but it is indeed a part of the natural order of things.

The evolution of flat breads into the delicious slices we know and love today has been a long journey, and it has not stopped. We’re taking a moment to appreciate our history, to thank the ancestors who looked at a flat piece of bread and tomato and thought, “that definitely needs cheese”. Take a journey with us back through time to find the geniuses who started it all.

Pizza in Antiquity: Where it All Began

A consensus on where and when pizza was invented is hard to come by, but there are many indicators throughout history of a precursor pizza’s existence.

Persian soldiers in 6th century BC would bake flatbread atop their shields, adding toppings like dates and cheese for flavour. We call that ingenuity!
The Ancient Greeks partook in a food called plakous, a flatbread adorned with cheese, garlic, and herbs to add flavour.
Archaeologists have even traced the flatbread that evolved into crusts back to Sardinia. A piece of bread aged to 7,000 years was discovered at an archaeological dig site on the Mediterranean island, and it was agreed that the local islanders used to leaven their bread into flat discs.
This is all to say that the idea of a flat bread base with toppings has existed across history, discriminating against neither time nor place. China, India, the Pacific, and Europe—all have versions of the pizza we all enjoy.

But if we’re talking about a flat crust and marinara, we must go back to where “pizza” found its real start: Naples.

The Story of Pizza in Naples

Pizza as we know it in the modern world—a bread crust with tomato sauce and cheese on top—began on the streets of Naples as the fare of the poor. After tomatoes were brought to Europe in the 16th century, they began cropping up as an ingredient in a Neapolitan flat bread which the locals called “pizza”. Sold on street corners, this food quickly rose in popularity. By 1807, 54 pizzerias populated Naples.

From there, this delicious slice took on a life of its own. After gracing the lips of royalty (Queen Margherita of Savoy, the origin of the margherita pizza) and gaining notoriety around the world, pizza made its way to other continents in the hands of Italian immigrants.

Today, pizza can be found almost everywhere in the world. For a dollar on the streets of New York, from a stall in a Szechuan marketplace, or on a little street in the Auckland CBD at Proper Pizza, home to the best pizza in Auckland!

Get yourself a slice of delicious history at Proper Pizza

We serve European pizza with a twist; thin sesame crust and high-quality toppings in generous proportions. Head to O’Connell street, or pull up Uber Eats to discover our gourmet pizza menu any time, day or night!

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