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Nov 28, 2012 01:22 PM

History of Pizza: Italy and America [split from Manhattan]

(Note: this thread was split from the Manhattan board at: -- The Chowhound Team)

I trust you Ziggy! Especially as pizza is Neopolitan not Italian and has a longer history in NYC than in most parts of Italy, especially the north. Pizzas came with the Neopolitan immigrants to places like NYC and New Haven, where modified styles of pizza were developed. Staten Island style being one great example.

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  1. Pizza has a longer history in NYC than in most parts of Italy?!???!?!??!?!?!?

    Guys, pizza was eaten all around Italy before Colombus discovered the americas... Do you seriously believe that pizza in Staten Island is more authentic than pizza in Milan or anywhere else in northern Italy?!?!

    51 Replies
    1. re: alepenazzi

      how did italians eat pizza before encountering the new world's tomatoes?

      1. re: tex.s.toast

        Because there were endless different kind of pizzas that dated back to the romans... A pizza is not made only with tomatoes...

        The word "pizza" was found for the first time written in latin on a document in Gaeta before the year 1000.

        But even if we talk about pizza with tomatoes and mozzarella it's ridiculous to say that it has a longer history in New York than it has in Italy...

        1. re: alepenazzi

          Alepanazzi let them believe what they want, they just make me laugh ahhaah this is so ridiculous

          1. re: alepenazzi

            Hello again, I'm following the discussion since the previous thread :)
            Well, alepenazzi, this is a good question... when pizza became pizza? We can think of it as as an OLD EGYPT RECIPE (, but to me the real authenic pizza was born in Naples around 18th century, as stated in the article above ;)

            1. re: lovelyLL

              Of course Neapolitan pizza is one of many Mediterranean flatbreads.

          2. re: tex.s.toast

            There is plenty of pizza not made with tomatoes. Think , too of breads of the type that include focaccia from Liguria, with toppings, think of coca from the Balearics and Catalunya and pide from Turkey.

            Supposedly, the popular Marguerita was concoted in Naples at the end of the 19th Century.
            Brandi in Naples announces that they were theh birthplace of the Margherita....who knows but it sure brings in lots of customers!

            1. re: erica

              In Rome, pizza bianca (white pizza) is popular. It's basically dough baked with olive oil and rosemary, different from what Americans call white pizza, which has cheese, but no tomatoes

          3. re: alepenazzi

            There was no Italy in 1492 and Colombo did not discover anything. Pizza came to Milan with the Neopolitan immigrants, but later than said immigrants came to NYC. I have no idea what you mean by "authentic".

            1. re: boccalupo

              Are you joking? Neapolitans come to NYC before moving to Milan?!?!?

              Are you aware that Milan and Naples traded goods and people moved from one city to the other since the romans, right?

              There was no italy in 1492? So what was that part of Europe in the middle of the mediterranean sea shaped as a boot? It's not the political meaning of italy but the geography that we're talking about. The society is not made of names, but of culture, and wether they were called longobardi, romani or italiani they were eating the same things.

              1. re: alepenazzi

                Look up when the first pizzeria opened in Milan, then get back to me...

                1. re: boccalupo

                  The first pizzeria? Are you serious? Do you think that people didn't eat pizza before they made pizzerias? Have you ever heard of home cooking?

                  So, nobody was eating steakes before they opened steakhouses? And nobody was eating sushi before they opened sushi bars? Come on guys...
                  The first pizzeria in Naples was opened in 1830, do you believe that nobody was eating pizza before that time?

                  1. re: alepenazzi

                    Pizza was never "home cooking"...But it was sold by ambulatory merchants in on the streets of Naples before 1830. Yes, it is unlikley that people in Mian or Venice or other northern cities were eating it before those in the Neopolitan immigrant commnunities of New York were eating it.

                    1. re: boccalupo

                      Is this some kind of a joke?
                      Pizza was never homecooking???
                      So nobody ate pizza before someone decided to sell it?????

                      It's like saying that nobody ate hamburger before McDonald was invented!!!

                      I thought that the fact that Americans believed pizza to be more American than Italian was a legend, a joke.. I'm speechless to realize that it was not...

                      So, a dish which was invented, ate and diffused all around Italy way before Italians even thought of coming to New York now was known in the US before it was known in Italy?
                      Have you guy ever been to Italy?

                      1. re: alepenazzi

                        Pizza was not diffused all around Italy until very recent times. Pizza is from Naples, and a variant was adoped in Rome at some point. It was a local dish. Pizza is a essentially a type of bread, which is not generally cooked in the home.

                        1. re: boccalupo

                          And where exactly did you hear that?

                          Pizza with tomato and mozzarella is from Naples, other kind of pizzas were eaten all around italy way before the neapolitan pizza was invented.

                          Pizza was most certainly cooked at home, especially in the countryside. Making bread and pizzas at home has always been quite common all around italy in the past.

                        2. re: alepenazzi

                          I actually have to agree with boccalupo... pizza needs an oven to be cooked. In modern times we (I'm Italian as well) all use our home oven, it wasn't so at the time you're referring to ;-)
                          My grandmother used to go to bring her pies to "Il Forno" to let them cook for her (beginning of 1900)... I think that we are arguing for something that is not the real thing. Authentic pizza to me is the one from Naples. That's said, it's true that neapolitan people spread their tradition all over the world. In New York the first immigrant started a "new business" and they completely changed the recipe because they couldn't find the same ingredients here in US. That's why I personally don't consider american pizza (which is another derivation from the first one made by the first immigrants) "authentic". I'm maybe TOO Italian??? ahhah!!!

                        3. re: boccalupo

                          if you think American make such a good pizza why you're not going to Sbarro but you're going to an Italian pizzeria, i'm just curious

                          1. re: Andypre

                            Sbarro was founded by immigrants from Naples. That doesn't excuse its bad pizza.

                          2. re: boccalupo

                            Were 10,000,000 grandmothers floating in outer space?

                        4. re: boccalupo

                          I looked it up. 1382 on Via Miglioni. It was called Domino's Pizza. They delivered but could not guarantee the pizza would still be hot when it arrived. No Chicago style deep dish pizza on the menu.

                      2. re: boccalupo

                        Seconding the notion that aunthenticity in any meaningful sense is a lost cause when it comes to pizza. Neopolitan purists will claim that there are only two kinds of pizza, marinara and margherita, both of which contain tomatoes, but then some will say that pizza traditions go even further back to a time before tomatoes (these two notions of authenticity are irreconcilable).

                        You can say a lot about pizza in ny - some of it is crisper, some chewier, some more or less charred, topings vary in quality and creativity - but calling something authentic or not, without a very specific reference to the original tradition you to which you are referring, is a meaningless comment.

                        1. re: tex.s.toast

                          I do make a very specific reference: pizza.

                          Pizza was born in Italy, there are many different kind of it, among which the Neapolitan pizza.

                          Therefore authentic pizza is the one that is made as the italians does it, as authentic sushi is the one made as the Japanese does, and authentic bibimpap is the one made as the Korean does.

                          1. re: alepenazzi

                            Leaving out the Chinese, huh? Deliberately? Well, I'm not getting dragged into the dogfight here beyond this post ... pssst, it's the Chinese that invented pizza.

                              1. re: erica

                                No, only pizza.
                                Now, you're getting me sucked deeper into this argument. Although,I'm sure there won't be any further argument when I say pasta was invented by the eskimos. ;-)

                                1. re: RCC

                                  Pasta made by eskimos is certainly alot more info than I asked for ;)

                          2. re: tex.s.toast

                            That's my answer I stick to, as I previously said. Yes, pizza was invented in Naples :)

                          3. re: boccalupo

                            Italy is a dream dreamt in the mind of an unconscious Italian

                            1. re: boccalupo

                              I guess you're right about not "discovering" anything... I know.
                              To me "authentic" (I just used that word too) means Neapolitan, cause I believe PIZZA (in the way we refer to pizza today) was born in Naples in 1730 ;-)

                            2. re: alepenazzi

                              Authentic is a loaded term. Staten Island pizza is authentic New York pizza. But at least in the 1990s, it may have been easier to get decent pizza in Staten Island than in Firenze. There's a lot of lousy pizza in northern Italy. Neapolitan pizza is wonderful, and Roman pizza is also excellent. I haven't been to Milan and don't know how the pizza is there, but in Firenze, you're better advised to get focaccia in a shop that specializes in it than pizza, or at least that seemed to be true in the 1990s, which is the last time I spent time in Firenze.

                              1. re: Pan

                                Not my experience. I've had many good pizza in Firenze since the mid-90's and have been going there at least 1X a year since. I can't name places and names, because they're just so many of them and they're all over the place.

                                I like many New York pizza, but pizza in Italy, be it in Rome, Venice, Naples, Milan or far flung city like Lecce and Gubbio, are so very good and they're just from seemingly ordinary-looking non-airconditoned ceiling fan establishments.

                                1. re: RCC

                                  Brick-oven places. Yeah, I guess so, and I'll concede the point. I still find this discussion annoying, though.

                                  1. re: Pan

                                    I don't find it annoying. I actually find it amusing, enough to participate in a tongue-in-cheek manner. If I can add a "watching with popcorn" emoticon, I'd add one.

                                    1. re: RCC

                                      RCC, I'm with you!!!!! I'm answering to everybody here... popcorn for two? :D

                                2. re: Pan

                                  Pan, how long have you lived in Italy to say so?

                                  In the 1990's it was easier to get decent pizza in Staten Island than in Firenze? There's a lot of lousy pizza in northern Italy????
                                  And you're saying so because you made a trip to florence 20 years ago?

                                  Are you serious?

                                  In Firenze, as everywhere else in Italy, there were amazing pizzas way before the first pizzeria opened in the US!

                                  I'm not talking because I made a trip there but because I was born and I lived in Italy until two years ago (for 30 years), and I've eaten pizza all around Italy since I remember!

                                  How can you possibly say that there's a lot of lousy pizza in northern Italy if you've never even been to Milan? Have you been to Brescia? Verona? Padova? Bologna? Torino? Genova? And in all those places you always found only lousy pizzas?
                                  Come on...

                                  In Staten Island today it's still difficult to find a decent pizza...

                                  1. re: alepenazzi

                                    You have your own view of what constitutes "decent pizza," as shown by your use of the word "authentic" to exclude New York-style pizza. It's certainly possible that I said something stupid, but it should be pretty evident that you misread it because I was specifically referencing Firenze and not places I've never visited. So while I'll say is this: It was my experience that it was very possible to get pretty _bad_ pizza in places like Firenze and Siena that have wonderful local cuisine, if I chose unwisely. In particular, Firenze has wonderful focaccia, which is not the same as pizza and which I don't think should be conflated with pizza. My experience in Rome, and even more in Napoli, was that it seemed to be hard to find any pizza that wasn't good. Surely, I may have been dumb to try streetside stalls in Firenze, but there are many parts of the world where wonderful culinary delights await you at such stalls.

                                    I think this discussion is somewhat irrelevant, though. This thread was supposed to be about the best places for pizza in New York and somehow morphed into a debate about pizza. Italy is always going to win in terms of its general standard of pizza quality, but we're not in Italy right now, for better or/and worse.

                                    1. re: Pan

                                      Pan, the fact that after a trip to florence you decided that pizza there was worse than in Staten Island speaks by itself. Especially considering that you're talking with people that lived there for many years.
                                      You mentioned that pizza all around northern Italy was bad, especially compared to Staten Island back in the days. How can you seriously believe that.

                                      I don't have my "own" view of what constitutes "decent pizza". I think that an Italian, whose parents run a restaurant, who grew up eating pizza all around Italy for 30 years might know a little more than an American who travelled there what a real pizza should be like.

                                      Then you're saying that New-York style pizza should be called "authentic" just as Italian pizza does? That really doesn't make any sense.

                                      Authentic in a dictionary means: "made or done in the traditional or original way".
                                      Is the traditional or the original way to make pizza the Italian one or the New-York style one?

                                      1. re: alepenazzi

                                        There are traditional ways to make pizza in New York.

                                        1. re: alepenazzi

                                          wow! I never thought this conversation could intertain me so much... thank you :)
                                          There are a lot of bad pizzas in Italy as bad pizzas in NY. Authentic pizza to me is from Neaples, therefore (Pan) from Italy. Yet, I think there are very good new york style pizza that are very tradidional and beloved to newyorkers (I do like it too, even if I'm Italian).

                                      2. re: alepenazzi

                                        There are two arguments running here: one that is unknowable since it has to do with personal taste (who makes the best pizza?).

                                        The other, through history and cultural anthropology, is more knowable. Not completely knowable, since there are long historical debates over the origins of most things, including pizza.

                                        Pizza, as a general term describing flat bread with stuff on top, has a long standing tradition in not only Italy, but in Greece, Turkey, Spain, and other parts of the Middle East dating from before the Middle Ages (5th - 15th Centuries). These "pizzas" were flatbreads, differing by region, topped with local ingredients such as olive oil and herbs in Italy.

                                        Given these dates, and evidence of early pizza variations being referenced by Cato and Herodotus, "pizza" (flatbread with stuff on it) was widely enjoyed in parts of Italy long before the New World was settled. This timeframe also pre-dates Marco Polo’s excursions to China and potentially negates the influence of scallion pancakes on pizza development in Italy.

                                        Over time, various ingredients were introduced to Italy from other parts of the world (i.e. water buffalo from India and tomato from the New World) that allowed for a more modern version of pizza to emerge.

                                        Modern pizza, for this purpose, can be defined as flatbread with cheese and tomato.

                                        So, that leaves us with the next big question: where did "modern pizza" develop? Frankly, no one really knows.

                                        It can be easily argued that modern pizza developed in Italy, since the basic concept of flatbread with stuff on it was in existence for centuries; adding tomato and buffalo mozzarella was a logical next step once those ingredients were introduced and/or accepted as edible. (The tomato was long considered poisonous in Italy)

                                        It can also be argued that Italian immigrants in America, bringing their pizza heritage with them, started using toppings around them, such as tomato and cow’s milk mozzarella.

                                        You could argue pretty effectively either side.

                                        What you will never convince me of is whether pizza in Italy is "better" than pizza in America. Maybe it is. Maybe it isn't. Since that depends on the personal taste of each individual in the argument, it will also be an unconvincing argument one way or another.

                                        1. re: mcap

                                          I agree, that's why I think that we were not talking about taste but authenticity.
                                          And authenticity is a matter of cultural and social heritage more than personal taste.

                                          Otherwise we would have all to agree that it is impossible to say wether any food is good or not. For example I might like New York sushi and a japanese could disagree, but it's a matter of taste.
                                          I'd never discuss the authenticity of sushi though.

                                          I heard many people in the US that love parmesan chicken, a typical italian dish. Well, obviously it's not an italian dish, it's 100% american. Is it good? Someone loves it!
                                          Is it authentic? No.

                                          One thing I'm pretty sure about is that italians were used to put toppings on pizzas before the first immigrants came to the US.
                                          One quick example, the first "modern" classic neapolitan pizzeria opened in Naples in 1830 (the first one to sell in a "restaurant" environment the classic tomato and mozzarella pizza), and that pizza was obviously eaten before they opened the first pizzeria.
                                          The first big italian immigration in the US started in the second half of the 19th century and at the beginning the majority of them came from northern Italy.

                                          1. re: alepenazzi

                                            Chicken parm IS authentic - authentic Italian-American!

                                            "One thing I'm pretty sure about is that italians were used to put toppings on pizzas before the first immigrants came to the US."

                                            100% agree. That was the main point of my post.

                                            "One quick example, the first "modern" classic neapolitan pizzeria opened in Naples in 1830 (the first one to sell in a "restaurant" environment the classic tomato and mozzarella pizza), and that pizza was obviously eaten before they opened the first pizzeria."

                                            Evidence shows that Antica Pizzeria Port'Alba opened in 1830 and served pizza. What it doesn't conclusively show is that it served tomato and cheese pizza.

                                            Did Antica Pizzeria Port'Alba invent tomato on a pizza in 1889 for Queen Margherita as history/folklore suggests? I'm not sure. Was it a popular combination locally before 1830? Possibly, but I'm not sure.

                                            While I "think" you are correct that tomato and cheese was a topping in Italy for many years prior to Italian emigration to America, I don't necessarily agree with your logic. The fact that a restaurant offers a particular dish does not mean it was already popular in the local area.

                                            My college town had a ubiquitous local dish called the Garbage Plate. Everyone ate them, many establishments served them, and they were created in home kitchens too. But it was invented in one restaurant, 50+ years ago, and then become a local institution.

                                            1. re: mcap

                                              I totally agree, chicken parm is authentic italian-american, which has nothing to do with italian food. The sad thing is that many people are convinced that it is italian.

                                              I'm not saying that if a restaurant offers a particular dish it had to be already popular but that there are more chances that the first neapolitan style pizzeria was opened in naples than in staten island, don't you agree?

                                              Especially because pizza wasn't a food invented by some restaurateur, but the poor people food.

                                              1. re: mcap

                                                I've eaten at Antica Pizzeria Porta d'Alba! I went there a couple of times during my first visit to Napoli in 1991 and then returned with my brother in 1998. Their pizza and appetizers were great! I didn't know they were the first "modern" pizzeria to open in Napoli; I was simply staying nearby in Spaccanapoli.

                                            2. re: mcap

                                              "Cato and Herodotus" the first pizza delivery boys!!! Sorry, I could not resist.
                                              All the O.P. wanted was suggestions for good whole pie pizza.
                                              F.Y.I.: Went to Grana in Jamesport LI today for some excellent wood fired pizza.

                                              1. re: mcap

                                                I do want to point out that the US is not the only country in the Americas where Italian immigrants developed pizza. While Canada may be a latecomer, there is a long pizza heritage in Argentina, by percentage of population the most "Italian American country. No surprise that their pizza is cheesier than its Italian forebears, with all those cows.

                                              2. re: alepenazzi

                                                No, alepenazzi, don't do it :D ahahahah!!!!!! I was standing for you!!!!!!!!
                                                I only think there are so many different styles.
                                                The only "authentic" one is the neapolitan and there are a lot of very good pizzerie all over Italy. I don't think we (as Italian) can compare our tradition to the American's one. For those who were born here, New York style pizza is pizza.

                                                Of course I'm for the Neapolitan one, but we can't say they don't have histoty ;-) They do, of a different pizza style. I recently tried Chicago pizza (I didn't like it), I had New Heaven pizza (decent) and different New York pizzas (Lucali, Grimaldi's, John's). I have my personal opinion about it, but I understand it's part of NY pizza culture.

                                              3. re: Pan

                                                I completely agree!!!! Authentic pizza is the Neapolitan one, then there are so many others: authentic Chicago Pizza, Authentic New York Pizza, etc... ;-) I know you guys have a pizza history too and even if my favorite is the neapolitan style pizza (the good one, not the $1,99 a slice though!) I do like to eat new york style pizza too: it's just different from "ours" (I'm Italian).
                                                Now I really have to try the one from Staten Island!

                                            3. I'm surprised how many scholars of the history of food and italy happen to use this message board.

                                              Snickering aside, I have a question for the old farts that might happen to post here. What was pizza like in the 1950's (in your specific part of america)? John Thorne once wrote something that mentions 50's pizza (a list of short reviews of restaurants and spots in North Hampton) but he somehow doesn't expound on the subject. What made it memorable? Why did it catch on in america w/ non-italians? Also, if Mr. Thorne happens to read this I mean old fart in the most generous way.

                                              6 Replies
                                              1. re: j8715

                                                1950's pizza in Brooklyn (Home of the NETS) was hot and cheesy with a semi crispy but not thin crust. It had to be folded so it would not flop over.
                                                10-15 cents a slice. A whole large pie was $1.
                                                Just watch the opening of "Saturday Night Fever" and you'll see what I mean.
                                                Pies were cut into 8 or 10 slices. When Yogi was asked: "8 or 10 slices?" He said "8, I'm not that hungry!"

                                                1. re: j8715

                                                  in the mid to late 1050s Apizza in New Haven was exactly as it is today on Wooster Street at Sally's or Pepe's.

                                                  Very thin crust, irregular shape charred in a coal fired brick oven with tomato sauce and grated Romano cheese. Mozzarella was and is an extra. In the outer reaches of town there was a Pepe's in Westville Village and Luigi's in upper Westville, same style pizza, but made in a gas oven.

                                                  Simalr apizza wa availble from many Italian bread bakeries such as Venice on Dixwell Avenue in Hamden.

                                                  The earliest menu I have from Sally's was from about 1963 and Prices for small, medium, large Apizza (without extra toppings) were $1, $2 and $3

                                                  At Luigi's as late as 1964 a small plain (Romano) was 65 cents, small mozzarella was $85 cents, with meat $1. I walked there for lunch from grade school, and two us would spilt a small apizza and each have a Lynbrook brand soda for 75 cents each.

                                                  1. re: bagelman01

                                                    My best guess is that you meant 1950 and not 1050.

                                                    1. re: Motosport

                                                      you are correct, my arthritis is acting up and my fongers (sic) are not hitting the correct keys

                                                      1. re: bagelman01

                                                        No wonder, if you are almost 1000 years old!

                                                  2. re: j8715

                                                    Old fart,DC with part of many childhood summers in Capri through the 50's and a smattering of Baltimore,Philly,NJ to New York's Outer Boroughs.
                                                    DC,AV and two others it was Italian American Pizza.Different flour&yeast the crust tasted different and baked very chewy,SAUCE,thick,sweet and very seasoned,applied with a heavy hand,TOPPINGS were already an abundant option and the ovens were still evolving.
                                                    Naples,Capri,specifically two vendors at the ferry to and from were already "marketing" pizza styles.
                                                    Vendor #1 served what most in Italy have come to know as "CLASSIC",Pizza Napolitana,Pizza Margherita and one a bit more substantial for foreigners,tourists etc.All very pretty to behold.
                                                    Vendor #2 catered to the not so affluent locals and port workers with both classics a bit more bare and two that would be closer to "Roman" or the evolution from "flat bread" today.Both had almost a lavash or cracker like crust,one was rubbed with oil and dusted with herbs and a local hard cheese close to Ricotta Salata in every way,THE OTHER,my favorite still,a generous rub of garlic,herbs,anchovies and pepper,cheese cost extra.

                                                  3. Interesting discussion I have started. The OP on the Manhattan board was looking for the best places to have pizza by the pie in Manhattan and specified "thin crust". I had recommended Rubirosa which makes a thin crust style that derives from Staten Island. Not my personal favoritie style, but a good example of a thin crust style in Manhattan. Ziggy also put Rubirosa on top of the list and said "trust me I am a Staten Islander"...What I wanted to emphasize was that NYC does have a tradition of pizza which in many cases predates that of many parts of Italy.

                                                    True Naples style pizza is great, but softer, wetter and puffier than old school NY Style, especially extra thin crust Staten Island style, did not seem what the OP was looking for, which is why I had suggested Rubirosa.

                                                    Here in NYC we have longstanding traditions of pizza which are worthy of equal respect with that of Italy, especially as that tradition has a long heritage which goes back at least to first wave of Neopoltan immigrants who came to New York City in the late 1800's and early 1900's and brought with them the tradition of pizza making.

                                                    The idea that pizza as we know it, which is really a derivation of the Neopolitan style, has a long history in other parts of Italy is not supported by the historical record. However, if anyone has a references that indicate otherwise, I would be delighted to be directed to these sources.

                                                    19 Replies
                                                    1. re: boccalupo

                                                      You're absolutely right.

                                                      I know it's hard for us (Italian, for those new to this conversation) to accept that pizza cuture can also belong to American people, ahhahah!!!! I guess it's because we're stick to what pizza is to us (neapolitan one), but I do respect the history that pizza took in US as well.
                                             are you suggesting me not to try the Staten Island style? :D

                                                      1. re: lovelyLL

                                                        Absolutely. Try it! If you go on the Outer Boroughs board and do a search for "Staten Island pizza". You will find some great recommnedations from people who know the pizza there way better than I do.

                                                      2. re: boccalupo

                                                        In NYC you have a longstanding traditions of NY style pizza, which is not Italian style pizza.

                                                        The fact that pizza as we know it, has a long history in other parts of Italy, is supported by "reality". References are history, people, restaurants, traditions. Basically you just have to go to Italy to realize that pizza is part of our culinary culture around the whole country in a totally different way than it is in NY.

                                                        I will never understand how you can believe that NY has a longer tradition of italian style pizza than Italy itself...

                                                        I'm not saying that NY doesn't have a tradition of pizza, just that it is not italian style pizza, it's something different developed here in the last century.

                                                        It's like saying that sushi has a long heritage in the US because California rolls were invented here.
                                                        California rolls are not japanese, they have their own tradition in the US, but they are not authentic sushi. The same goes for NY style pizza.

                                                        1. re: alepenazzi

                                                          That word "authentic" again. California rolls are indeed authentic - to California.

                                                          1. re: Pan

                                                            And again that's exactly what I meant, california rolls are authentic California food, not authentic Japanese.
                                                            NY pizza is authentic american food not authentic italian.

                                                            I can't understand how people still believe that NY style pizza in NY is more authentic italian than any pizza in Italy but the one from Naples.

                                                            1. re: alepenazzi

                                                              Did anyone actually say _that_?

                                                          2. re: alepenazzi

                                                            "I will never understand how you can believe that NY has a longer tradition of italian style pizza than Italy itself... "

                                                            Pizza comes from Naples and predates "Italy". To this day food in what is now Italy is fiercly local and regional. Pizza is one of the rare dishes that has been diffused throughout Italy, but this is a relatively recent development.

                                                            I have translated a section of a document in Italian called the Brief History of Pizza.

                                                            "Nevertheless, it is only with the industrial boom of the 1960's, after the Second World War, that pizza leaves Southern Italy and spreads to the rest of the Italian peninsula. Thousands of emigrants and their families relocated to the Milan, Turin and Genoa triangle bringing with them their own traditions and customs. The Neopolitans begin to make pizzas, first for their compatriots, and in time, with success attained, also for the local people."


                                                            1. re: boccalupo


                                                              Italy is not only a political entity, it's a cultural a geographical entity. When I talk about Italy, I mean the Italian Peninsula, which always existed. Inhabited by etrurians, greeks, romans, italians, etc..

                                                              The very same document that you translated it says:
                                                              In Italy, the etrurians first and then greeks and romans, were part of the history of pizza.
                                                              As the Etrurians were the first to bring this dish into their culture, the greeks made a big change in the preparation of the "planktunos". The ancient greeks, in fact, started to put the toppings on their pizza, before cooking it.

                                                              Maybe I'm just wrong, but weren't the etrurians and the ancient greeks living more than 2000 years before the industrial boom of the 1960's?

                                                              By the way, pizza wasn't developed in the italian peninsula before 1960? And you say that because you read it on a website of a company that make pizza-boxes?

                                                              Why don't you simply ask to any italian!?

                                                              My father, who grew up in Verona, north Italy, from a northern italian family, ate pizza when he was a kid at school, and he was born in 1938!!

                                                              How was that possible? Time travel?

                                                              1. re: alepenazzi

                                                                alepenazzi & boccalupo

                                                                I have a post here,above 4 December with some modern history,US & Italy.My profile provides modern,direct ties to Italia Nord.

                                                                In many ways you are both right.Not to get caught up in "details" some of this will be anecdotal in less than ideal order.
                                                                As flat bread,pizza has closest ties to Egyptian flat bread,by recipe,method and fire from above and below AND YEAST.Egypt was the first place in the yeast business.The brewing of beer and wine was advanced enough that yeast was no longer a rogue and accidental event or by-product.They worked at,controlled as the era would permit yeast and bread making.The reverse of which would be matzoh and all of its important heritage,cultural and religious,Exodus and Passover.

                                                                Now modern pizza,the USofA put it on the map after WWII as the WORLD has come to know it,good,bad or in between.Was it all over Italy,you bet.Maybe not in a major way too far from Rome or Naples.
                                                                My French mother,born 1910 went to school with Italians from Sicily to the Tyrol and was familiar with "pizza" the length of the peninsula by 1935 as was I by 1955.Was it as common pre 1960 as 1980?NO Had it settled into 3 distinct styles by 1955?YES Was the "authentic" bickering,nitpicking of style or city already in full swing?YOU BET Even with the cultural DIVIDE etc between NORD & SUD everyone had an opinion on best,authentic,original pizza from Syracusa to Bergamo Alta

                                                                GI'S returning from Italy wanted pizza!The well established Italian American community with ease of ingredients and store fronts jumped on it with great and permanent success.

                                                                1. re: alepenazzi

                                                                  Your dad was a kid in school in the 1950's.

                                                                  The pizza we are referring to, what we recognize as pizza, is the Neapolitan variety and its variants and descendants. Yes, various flatbreads have a long history in the Middle East, going back to Ancient times.

                                                                  New York City had a very signinficant popluation of immigrants from Naples and Campania by the early 1900's. There was nothing comparable in any northern Italian city at the time.

                                                                  Yes, New York has a longer history of pizza than Verona. I have no doubts about that.

                                                                  If your grandfather or great grandfather ate pizza in a pizzeria in Verona in, say, the 1920's, let me know. My grandfather was eating it in NYC.

                                                                  1. re: boccalupo

                                                                    This is absolutely ridiculous!

                                                                    Do you really believe that people from southern Italy travelled to the US before traveling around Italy????

                                                                    Do you realize what you are saying?

                                                                    You believe that the only pizza is the Neapolitan one. Well, it isn't.

                                                                    You believe that pizza was brought to NY before the rest of Italy. Well, it wasn't.

                                                                    These are facts.

                                                                    How can you seriously believe that people from Naples didn't move from their houses until 1900???????

                                                                    How can you seriously believe that for a Neapolitan it was easier and more common to take a migrant's boat for weeks in order to arrive in NY then travel a few hours by train?


                                                                    Of course people was eating pizza in Verona before 1920!!!!!

                                                                    People from Naples travelled around the Italian peninsula since 2000 years ago!!!!

                                                                    1. re: alepenazzi

                                                                      "You believe that the only pizza is the Neapolitan one. Well, it isn't."

                                                                      Yes, in this context it is the pizza that we are talking about.

                                                                      "Of course people was eating pizza in Verona before 1920!!!!!"

                                                                      Do you have a source for this assertion? In New York City this is clear from history that pizza was well established in immigrant neighborhoods by the 20's and 30's.

                                                                      "How can you seriously believe that for a Neapolitan it was easier and more common to take a migrant's boat for weeks in order to arrive in NY then travel a few hours by train?"

                                                                      Yes. It was more common for Southern Italians to relocate permanently to to USA at the turn of the century. Take a look at historical documents of where immigrants settled, when they left their native land and whether they settled permanently and/or brought their families or whether they were migrant workers who eventually returned home.

                                                                      Everyone is entitled to their opinion. One is not entitled to their own facts.

                                                                      1. re: boccalupo

                                                                        I can't believe your serious...

                                                                        It was more common for southern Italians to relocate in the US then in northern Italy?!?!

                                                                        Of course there are no historical documents about immigration in northern Italy, because staying in your own country doesn't mean to emigrate!!

                                                                        People moved through the Italian peninsula 1500 years before the first European arrived in the Americas!!!!

                                                                        If someone in the 17th century was to move from New York to Washington would you consider him an immigrant in Washington? And would him become part of the statistics of the American citizens emigrating from the US?

                                                                        I'm talking about facts, culture and the history of one of the oldest country of the world, that's where my assertions come from.

                                                                        I appreciate your opinions but saying that there were more Neapolitans in NY than in northern Italy at the beginning of the 20th century it's simply historically wrong.

                                                                        If you have ever been to Italy you just need to have a quick look around to realize what I'm saying.

                                                                        In the US you have immigrants that brought some traditions over from their home country, in Italy we shared our traditions and cultures since 3000 years.

                                                                        1. re: alepenazzi

                                                                          "I appreciate your opinions but saying that there were more Neapolitans in NY than in northern Italy at the beginning of the 20th century it's simply historically wrong."

                                                                          These are not my opinions, they stem from the historical record.

                                                                          "Of course there are no historical documents about immigration in northern Italy, because staying in your own country doesn't mean to emigrate!!"

                                                                          The migration of Southern Italians within Italy is well documented by the historical record. I am not sure what you mean by this.

                                                                          "If you have ever been to Italy you just need to have a quick look around to realize what I'm saying."

                                                                          What exists today in Italy is not particularly relevant to this discussion of history.

                                                                          "I'm talking about facts, culture and the history of one of the oldest country of the world, that's where my assertions come from."

                                                                          You have not backed your assertions with any facts or historical references.

                                                                          "In the US you have immigrants that brought some traditions over from their home country, in Italy we shared our traditions and cultures since 3000 years"

                                                                          Naples was part of the south of Italy that was conquered by the north in the 1860's. Italy has only existed for approximately 150 years. Naples has its own complicated history, and its culture was probably influenced more by Greece than anything else. Once again, food in the Italian peninsula was and is fiercly regional and local. This has been altered somewhat by internal migration, which is much more recent phenomenon. The South to North migrations in Italy not being very signifcant until the 1950's.

                                                                          In any case, when the Savoy Queen Margherita wanted to try "la vera pizza", she came down to Naples in 1889. She did not go to Genoa, Milan or Bologna.

                                                                          1. re: boccalupo

                                                                            May I just ask you where did you find historical records about migrations between southern and norther italy?

                                                                            As you just said those were not my opinions, they stem from the history of my country.
                                                                            What kind of facts are you looking for and what facts are you bringing to back up your assertion?

                                                                            Have you ever spent some time looking at the last names of different regions of Italy? It's the easiest way to learn about migrations and it tells you a lot about how people from the south of Italy were traveling along the country way before the 20th century. The fact that Italy as a state existed for 150 years doesn't really mean anything in this context.

                                                                            May I ask you where did you read that migrations where not very significant until the 1950s? Again, a quick look at the history of Italy would easily show you how people were migrating since the Romans, and I'm pretty sure there have been more neapolitans traveling the peninsula in 1900 years then neapolitans traveling to the US in the first 20 years of the 20th century.
                                                                            This last sentence is actually not backed up by facts, just statistics. But I trust my statistics when they talk about people traveling for a few hours in their own country for 1900 years vs people boarding ships toward a new continent.

                                                                      2. re: alepenazzi

                                                                        People from southern Italy have always travelled northwards and vice-versa, but this is a question of mass, and not individual or small-group migration.

                                                                        Many of the original migrants were young single men looking to make money to found a family, buy a farm or a small (artesanal) business. Some immigrants eventually brought their wives (and children) or fiancées over.

                                                                        Ironically, Northern Italians were more common emigrants to the Southern tip of South America, but there were enough Sicilians and other Southerners to make pizza popular


                                                                  2. re: boccalupo

                                                                    Above,a combined response to you and alepenazzi

                                                              2. The original comment has been removed
                                                                1. beer was first made in the middle east, at the dawn of civilization. thus, germany does not make authentic beer. (for the record im mocking nearly everyone in this thread)