There are many types of Italian pizza, and it can be challenging to know where to start. With this in mind, we have created a comprehensive guide that will introduce you to the most popular types of pizza found in Italy. From the classic Neapolitan pizza to the more unusual Pizza Tonda Romana, we have got you covered! So read on and discover the delicious world of Italian pizza…
Table of Contents:
- 1. Pizza Napoletana
- 2. Pizza alla Pala
- 3. Pizza Tonda Romana
- 4. Pizza al Taglio
- 5. Pizza Fritta
- 6. Pizza al Padellino
- 7. Pizza Siciliana
- What Toppings Are on a Traditional Italian Pizza?
- The Best Pizzerias in Rome
1. Pizza Napoletana
Originating from Naples, Pizza Napoletana is perhaps the most famous type of Italian pizza. It is typically made with a thin and crispy base, and it is topped with fresh ingredients such as tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, basil, and olives.
What makes Napoletana so great is its dough and the wood-fire oven used to bake the pizza.
The dough is a simple mixture of wheat flour, yeast, salt, and water. It’s left to rise for up to 24 hours in a dark room. After waiting, the dough is shaped by hand into a flat, round disk, that is around 3 millimeters thick.
Now the fun part, the dough is topped with your favorite ingredients and baked for 90 seconds in a wood-burning oven that reaches 900°F.
The result is a soft, tall, and fluffy crust that locals call the cornicione (meaning edge or rim of the pizza in Italian).
If you want a truly authentic Italian pizza experience, Pizza Napoletana is the way to go!
Fun fact: In 2017, Neapolitan ‘Pizzaiuolo,’ the art of making pizza Napoletana was added to UNESCO’s list of intangible cultural heritage!
What’s The Difference Between Margherita and Neapolitan Pizza?
There is no particular difference between Margherita pizza and Neapolitan pizza. Margherita is simply the most well-known and recognized variation of Neapolitan pizza.
This pizza is typically made with mozzarella di bufala campana slices and San Marzano tomato sauce. Basil is added to provide a freshness not otherwise found on the pizza. When you combine all three ingredients, you get an impression of the Italian flag.
2. Pizza alla Pala
Pizza alla Pala is a type of pizza that originates from the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. Some say that this type of pizza comes from Bologna and others believe that it came from Parma, regardless, it’s damn good.
This pizza is cooked in a wood-fired oven and it is typically larger and thinner than other types of pizza. It is stretched longwise to better fit on the paddles being used in the region.
Pizza alla Pala is typically topped with simple ingredients such as tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and Parmesan cheese.
Unlike Pizza Napoletana, Pizza alla Pala uses a highly-hydrated dough and is cooked in an electric over at 580°F. The dough gives each slice a soft, fluffy interior, and crispy exterior.
3. Pizza Tonda Romana
Pizza Tonda Romana is a type of pizza that originates from Rome. This pizza is typically made with a thin and crispy base using a low-hydration dough, and is topped with fresh ingredients such as tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, basil, and olives. Pizza Tonda Romana is usually cooked in a wood-fired oven, which gives it a delicious smoky flavor.
4. Pizza al Taglio
Italy’s capital is a heavy hitter when it comes to pizza. In addition to Pizza alla Pala and Pizza Tonda Romana, Pizza al Taglio is a variety of pizza that comes from Rome. It’s also a personal favorite!
This pizza is typically sold by the slice and it is usually served cold. The price of each slice is typically determined by what toppings it uses and how much it weighs. Some pizzerie will let you choose how large of a slice you want before they cut it.
More than other types we’ve covered so far, Pizza al Taglio comes in a large variety of toppings. There are simple, yet delicious choices like
- pizza Margherita (tomato sauce, cheese, and basil)
- pizza bianca (olive oil, rosemary, and garlic)
- pizza rossa (tomato sauce only)
There are also more unique toppings available like ground truffles, zucchini, eggplant, and potatoes.
5. Pizza Fritta
Pizza Fritta is a type of fried pizza that comes from Naples. It is a classic street food due to how easy it is to hold and eat while walking around the city.
While it comes in a variety of shapes, like the calzone (shaped like a half moon), the most popular version is the round one you see above (called montanara).
After World War II, the price of mozzarella and wood skyrocketed which made baking pizza dough expensive. In order to continue serving customers, Napoli cooks decided to fry the dough instead and filled it with the ingredients they had on hand.
Today, this type pizza is still deep-fried in oil. However, instead of stuffing the dough with ingredients, it more closely resembles the other pizza we’ve covered thus far.
Pizza fritta is topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and Parmesan cheese.
6. Pizza al Padellino
Pizza al Padellino originates from Turin, the beautiful capital city of Piedmont in northern Italy.
You’ll probably recognize it elsewhere in the world as “pan pizza.” All of the big chains offer this variety – but to a vastly inferior degree.
Pizza al Padellino is made with a thick soft crust and cooked in a small frying pan and is usually topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and Parmesan cheese.
7. Pizza Siciliana
Now we get to the divisive Pizza Siciliana. Some people love the fluffy crunchy crust and others hate it.
As the name suggests, Sicilian-style pizza comes from Sicily. While there are a few variations of Sicilian pizza, the two most well known come from Palermo and Catania.
In the United States, it’s popular throughout the northeast and also Michigan where it was adapted into Detroit-style pizza.
The most common traits for the American versions include a thick and fluffy base, tomato sauce, and mozzarella cheese. However, in Sicily it may also be topped with onions, anchovies, tomatoes, herbs, and caciocavallo or toma cheese.
What Toppings Are on a Traditional Italian Pizza?
The toppings on a traditional Italian pizza vary depending on the region in which it is made. However, some of the most common toppings include tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, basil, and olives. Other locations may include different types of prosciutto.
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The Best Pizzerias in Rome
If you want a truly authentic Italian pizza experience, you should head to one of the many pizzerias in Rome. There are so many, though, that it can be daunting to choose one. For that reason, we’re including some of our favorites below:
Pizzarium has been selling delicious classic pizzas for over 20 years. They specialize in flavors like rossa (tomato and oregano) and patate e mozzarella (buttery potatoes and mozzarella cheese). While it’s undeniably some of the best pizza I’ve had in Rome, the wait to get in is ridiculous due to the proximity of the Vatican. It’s also fairly expensive compared to other pizzerias in the area.
La Gatta Mangiona
La Gatta Mangiona brings a unique twist to their pizza. They blend the textures of Roman and Neapolitan styles to make a thick-rimmed pizza with amazingly fantastic crust. We tried the pizza stramargherita and pizza ri-cotta alla carbonara (think a pizza sandwich of sorts). Strongly recommend.
Bonci is unique in that it’s a pizzeria by day and a bakery by night. The same ovens are used to bake bread during the day and then pizza later in the evening. The menu offers about 30 different types of toppings for you to choose from, but I recommend sticking with the classics like margherita or pizza con mortadella (white pizza with mortadella sausage).
Forno Campo de’ Fiori
This is a great place to grab a quick slice of pizza or a whole pie to go. The pizza al taglio (sold by the slice) is delicious and fairly cheap. The whole pies are also reasonably priced and will last you a few meals. You’ll be tempted to try a pizza with toppings (and they’re good), but we recommend you try the plain pizza with red sauce and no cheese. It’s some of the best we came across in Rome.
Piccolo Buco is a great place to go for a sit-down meal. The menu offers a wide variety of traditional and creative pizzas. I highly recommend the pizza alla carbonara (pizza with egg, pancetta, and pecorino cheese) or the pizza al tartufo (pizza with truffle sauce). It also happens to be one block from our favorite leather shop called Leather Craftsman. The couple who own it are friendly, and the husband makes leather bags in front of you.
So there you have it! A comprehensive guide to the most popular types of Italian pizza. So what are you waiting for? Get out there, grab yourself an aperitvo, and then try them all! Do you have a favorite? Let us know in the comments below.
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