Pizza Margherita was invented in 1889, when the Royal Palace of Capodimonte commissioned the Neapolitan pizzaiolo Raffaele Esposito to create three pizzas in honour of the visiting Queen Margherita. She preferred the pizza with the colors of the Italian flag: red (tomato), green (basil), and white (mozzarella).
For Neapolitan pizza it is compulsory to use San Marzano tomatoes. Legend has it that the first seed of this tomato came to Campania in 1770 as a gift from the Viceroy of Peru to the Kingdom of Naples, and that it was planted in the area near the present commune of San Marzano. They were first grown in volcanic soil in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius. In the United States, San Marzano tomatoes are the genetic base for the popular Roma tomato.
Pizzas have been sold on the streets of Naples since the 16th Century.
When eating at a pizzeria, a Neapolitan, be it a man or woman, eats an entire pizza. Why? How? Because the dough and toppings are light, so one doesn’t feel overly full, and it is a healthy meal. And, quite simply, la pizza e’troppo deliziosa!
Contrary to popular belief, marinara does NOT contain seafood. Rather, it was made by the wives of mariners – without cheese, so it kept longer at sea.
In 1866, Francesco de Bourcard wrote a two-volume book titled Traditions and Customs of Naples. He cited two recipes older than the Margherita: the first had oil, finely chopped garlic, oregano, and salt, with the extra topping option of white bait; the second pizza had grated parmesan, seasoned lard and basil leaves and was named “mastunicola”
Writing about Naples in 1835, French author Alexandre Dumas noted: “We deceive ourselves strangely. The Neapolitan of the lower class [known as “lazzarone”, a peculiar poor class of Neapolitans] is not wretched; for his necessities are in exact harmony with his desires. What does he wish to eat? A pizza or a slice of water-melon suffices.”