Although the word “pizza” was first documented in 997 AD in Gaeta and in different parts of Central and South Italy, the history of the dish itself is not very clear.
Probably the precursor of pizza was the focaccia, a flat bread known to the Romans as “panis focacius”, to which toppings were then added.
Until about 1830, pizza was sold from open-air stands and out of pizza bakeries. Pizzerias keep this very old tradition alive today.
Modern pizza as we know it is attributed to baker Raffaele Esposito. In Campania, Italy in 1889, Esposito created pizza, in his restaurant Pizzeria di Pietro. This new invention was especially made for the arriving Italian king and queen, King Umberto I and Queen Margherita. Esposito wanted to make a good first impression with his new discovered pizza. This new dish, the Margherita, was topped with modest amounts of tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and fresh basil.