Isn’t it just pizza?
No, it is not. There are hundreds of different styles of pizza in the world today. Some of them are based on local cuisine flavors. But if you are going to understand pizza best, you should know about its Origin-Italy.
This is why we show you some of the best Italian pizza. So, just for fun, how many Italian pizza styles can you comfortably name?
Whenever you hear of Italian cuisine, the first thing that comes to mind is their pizza and pasta. And while the pizza is a meal that unites all Italians, there’s no national pizza. Almost every region makes their pizza differently.
This is why we have the notion my pizza is better than yours. Well, we are not about to start getting into that endless pizza debate.
We only want to list some of the most popular styles of Italian pizza. You should know that all the pizzas they have come in different styles.
Here you have several types of pizzas under the name. Of course, they are all originally from Napoli. Also, history shows that it was the first place where a human being made pizza. You will see them in the list below.
The unique thing about it is that all history talks about the first pizza from Napoli. If you have read the origin of pizza, then you will know this style of pizza. Besides, it’s the pizza that’s protected by UNESCO and ‘Associazione Vera pizza Napoletana’ law. They have a traditional specialty guarantee certification to guide how they make this pizza globally.
They were focusing on retaining the authentic Napoletana pizza. It’s not every day you will have a country create a pizza law. But the essence was to make sure they retained its authenticity, being that it was the first style of pizza in the country and globe.
The one we have today and the original one isn’t the same, thanks to Giovanni Santarpia. The Neapolitan original style had it al dente, and soft well he made it thin as ‘biscotti.’ This is also how the people of Tuscany loved it.
Regardless the pizza retains the softens even though they cook it under the very high heat of 900°F in a wooden-fired oven. Despite the charred exterior of the crust, the dough remains elastic. The toppings you have, though, are tomatoes, fresh basil, olive oil, and mozzarella cheese. They never have fancy toppings, remember.
It only comes in two versions, the pizza Margherita and the pizza marinara.
1. Pizza Margherita
This is also known as the queen of Italian pizzas, thanks to queen Margherita who loved it. When the queen visited Naples back in 1889, chef Raffaele of pizzeria Brandi made her the pizza that resembled Italy’s flag. It has red tomatoes, white cheese and then green basil. Since she loved it, the chef named it after her.
To date, the queen of pizzas is one of the most common styles of pizza, mostly because it represents Italy. It still uses the necessary ingredients of Italian olive oil, fresh basil, fresh mozzarella cheese, and tomatoes.
When you look at it, it’s a versatile choice that you can prepare in different versions of the Italian pizzas. You can make it the Neapolitan way, roman way, al taglio, among others.
I love the ‘pizza Margherita con mozzarella di buffalo’ the difference here is that they use the buffalo mozzarella cheese, which gives it a different flavor. You see, it will give it a little bit of saltiness but with a slightly sour taste.
2. Pizza Marinara
Another one of the Napoletana pizza that most people think it’s a type of pizza is based on seafood when it’s not. Forget about the restaurants that will deliver the seafood toppings to your pizza and making you think it’s pizza marinara. Let’s make this clear there’s no Neapolitan pizza that contains seafood.
This type of pizza has tomatoes, oregano, garlic, fresh basil, and extra virgin oil. Notice that it got its name from the fact that the fishermen used it a lot more. They used to like eating it when they were back from fishing at the bay of Naples.
Notice the marinara is one of the pizzas protected under the Neapolitan law. So even today, you can still find the authentic pizza marinara style. This pizza contains lesser toppings than you have on the Margherita. However, if you look at it, you will realize that the pizza marina is one of the most popular veggie pizzas.
Here is another one of the Italian pizza varieties that originated from Napoli. This is to say that it’s also a Neapolitan type of pizza. Notice that this pizza style is actually topped with tomato sauce, pepperoncini, salccica, rapini, smoked provolone cheese.
You will mostly hear people referring to it as sausage and rapini pizza toppings. Besides, this is also one of the most loved pizza styles since people travel far and wide to go and try it in Napoli.
Of course, when you will combine the rapini and the sausage, you are bound to develop an outstanding and tasty pizza. So as an addition to the pizza toppings, you will have the fresh basils to garnish it. You will further have the extra virgin olive oil added to the pizza.
4. Pizza fritta
Anytime you have the fried pizza, you should realize that they will come in different sizes, shapes, and forms. This is another one of the famous pizzas that was born from crisis.
You see, during world war 2, the value of wood and mozzarella cheese was higher than the normal. As you would expect, the people of Napoli still had to eat their favorites. So the chefs came up with an idea to fry it instead of baking and still pack it with the desired toppings.
So instead of baking, they sealed the ingredients between two pizza doughs. Now, when it comes to frying, they will make sure it looks and feels crispy.
Notice that if you went to most Neapolitan pizza places, you would have the pizza fritta that’s also piping hot. This one you should rather eat hot. It’s unique that they make it have a hearty filling. They will mostly have fresh ricotta cheese, tomato sauce, and Italian salami. You can, however, also use the mozzarella cheese.
5. Calzone pizza
You will mostly recognize the calzone pizza for its half-circle shape. This one mostly looks like the pizza fritta, and you cook it in the wood oven. The Neapolitan style was the type where they made it with fresh basil and tomato sauce.
Expect it to have the ricotta cheese filling, but it also has Italian salami and ground pepper. You can also sometimes use the lighter kind of mozzarella. They will even put the Italian ham sometimes to spice it.
This is one of the versatile pizza options where you can add other ingredients to make your style unique. You can further also add the different styles of vegetable fillings. You should only order the Naples pizza if you are hungry because this one will be huge for you.
In some cases, you will have the pizza being folded to make the pocket, but you will also have a version where they don’t turn it over. Still, although some people underrate it, it’s a unique style of serving pizza.
6. Pizza salsiccia e Friarielli
I know when you are visiting Naples, you will always have the pizza Margherita in mind. But if you want to be like the locals, try the ones that the locals like-pizza salsiccia. This is how you will understand the flavors of Naples better. The term Friarielli refers to turnip greens, which you will find in the Naples region around September to the end of springtime.
Such pizzas then are famous for giving you the fresh ingredients during the high season times. They also use the salsiccia, a traditional sausage style that you will only find in Naples. The pizza also uses the sausage made using the pork meat. They will often also have the sprinkle of ground pepper, though, remember.
This pizza also has some white wine to give it versatility. Notice that here you will have the cheese being the base of all the other toppings. You can then use the spicy flakes of red pepper. If you aren’t used to this, you may find it strange, but they use fresh turnips that are also mostly bitter.
Pizzas first founded in Rome
7. Pizza al taglio
This is one of the most typical roman inventions. And today, it has spread all across Italy and the world. Sometimes you will have the people referring to it as pizza al trancio. One unique characteristic is that the pizza is puffy, soft, and fluffy compared to the other Neapolitan pizzas.
You can also use all the different styles of toppings. You will have the toppings ranging from Capriocosa to Margherita style. Some people even use the baked ham, mozzarella cheese with the addition of sweet corn too.
Notice, though, that the people of Rome sell the pizza by weight. If you are to go to Naples, you will notice that it has the price being fixed to the slices. We say the pizza has various toppings. This also means that some days, they allow you to choose the kind of cheese you intend to use.
Since it’s thicker, it will take longer in the oven, sometimes up to 15 minutes depending on the crust’s toppings. One difference is that they sometimes even add the toppings mid-way through the baking or after the process.
I should mention that although you will hear some people refer to it as pizza Romana, not all the al taglio pizza is roman and vice versa.
8. Pizza Romana Tonda
When we are talking of the regional styles of pizza, this is still one of Rome’s pizzas. After its invention in Rome, they transported it to the northern side of Italy, and since then, it has crossed borders. They call it ‘Scrocchiarella,’ which refers to the crunchy pizza in Italian.
This one is popular for being ultra-thin and ultra-crisp. As such, it’s not like the others that you can fold because they will crack. Now, this is different from the Neapolitan style of pizza that is never that crisp. This pizza is often round too, and the reason why it’s very crisp, they say, is because they cook it in the electric oven.
9. Pizza alla Pala
This one is another style of pizza that confuses people. You should know it was first founded in Rome. They will often make it to a long oval pizza, and you will mostly serve it in a wooden paddle. The word pala in Italian means peel. It stands out uniquely for being a hydrated dough.
They even mostly cook it in the electric oven. You can also move the pizza dough in the wooden paddle and then add the fresh ingredients you have. So then you will have a thick, crunchy and soft exterior crust.
You should know that the pizza you find here, therefore, is made in the size of the number of people who will be eating it. Therefore, you should know that they will always cut it into square slices and not as a triangle as the ones you find in New York.
They may have different textures and depth too. They remain crunchy yet half-inch-thick notice that they are other options you will find in Rome first.
10. Pizza Sicilian
The name also shows you where the pizza was first made, and that’s in Sicily, which is in the deeper side of south Italy. Some people refer to it as focaccia, and if you crave it a lot in the US, don’t worry. You will get it in a district in Italy.
You know it gets the name focaccia because they use the thick bread-like dough. It further remains thick and fluffy. The toppings will often include the goat or cow milk cheese. You may have them use mozzarella, capers, tomato sauce, olives, onions, oregano, and anchovies.
Also, they add the breadcrumbs, which then means they will absorb the excess oil. The traditional one should come in a square, but you may find the round ones. Of course, the pizza definition, in this case, is based on ingredients and not the shape of the pizza.
The toppings vary, but you should expect it to have tomato sauce, herbs, onions, anchovies, and a strong caciocavallo. Of course, this is one of the types of pizzas you may use, but you will sometimes have others in Sicily though they use peas, hard-boiled eggs, seafood, and green olives.
11. Gourmet pizza
If you are the one who likes to use any other ingredients and not necessarily the tomato sauce, you will find this type of pizza being of importance. This is another one of Naples favorite pizzas, although nowadays you will find it in Milan, Florence, and Rome too.
You will further notice that they use the Italian dry-cured ham. You can also have them with mozzarella, arugula, and thinner slices of parmesan. They prepare them almost the same way you do with the Neapolitan types of pizza. If you are like me, then you will be enjoying this pizza style more during the summertime.
Notice that the flavors mix in too well, and in the end, you will have a light but fresh, digestible pizza. You will notice that some places will add prosciutto nicely shaped to make it look more like a pizza garden.
12. Pizza capricciosa
Here you have one of the most iconic Italian styles of pizza. One thing with it, though, is that you will find this style of pizza in almost any kind of restaurant. The main ingredients and toppings they use is mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce, olive oil, Italian baked ham, artichokes, black olives, and mushrooms.
It further depends on the type you are making. There’s one called pizza capricciosa Bianca that never has tomato sauce. Although some brands will add in the eggs, it’s important to say that the authentic Italian style pizza never has eggs.
This one, you will notice, is also referred to as the four seasons pizza. Of course, the pizza toppings they will use you will often find as Neapolitan pizza and Roman pizza. Notice that the pizzas, therefore, are sliced into four with different toppings.
So the difference is that the different pizzas will represent the different seasons. Generally, you should notice that the base often has tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese.
One of the slices then will have the artichokes for spring; the mushroom one indicates autumn, they have another slice with tomato and basil for represent summer, lastly, the ham and black olives one represents winter.
They will even use the ricotta cheese and Italian salami for the winter season. You can then have the cherry tomatoes for the summer.
14. Pizza ai Quattro Formaggi
Everyone who knows this pizza knows it for its best Italian cheese use. And they also feature the use of various Italian toppings. They can make it a roman Neapolitan style. When you compare it to the other pizzas we suggested here; it appears to be one of the heaviest. It remains versatile, and they can change the base to suit their needs.
It uses either tomato sauce or white sauce. Its primary ingredients are different cheese types-mozzarella, gorgonzola, parmesan, and gruyere cheese. Nonetheless, other types may have different cheese styles like Fontina, Neapolitan provolone, and Italian auricchio.
However, you should never forget the gorgonzola because of its tangy taste that mixes well with the other sweet cheese types.
15. Pizza al ragu
This is another one of the Naples exclusive pizza. I know what you may think, too many Napoli pizzas here. Well, it’s because they also have a lot of pizzas. Ragu is an Italian sauce that they let simmer for hours. This is one of the pizzas that you may only find in Naples and not in all restaurants.
The difference is that it doesn’t use the regular tomato sauce you would always use. They use the ragu sauce that they also use on pasta. They also use mozzarella di bufala, olive oil, fresh basil but sometimes also the ricotta cheese.
This is not a vegan recipe since it uses some cuts of meat to make the sauce. Nonetheless, it’s still a very delicious version.
16. Pizza Bianca
It’s not every day that they make the pizza without sauce, but you have the pizza Bianca that will work without sauce in Italy. This came from the past style where the Romans used pizza by cutting it in two and eating it with fig, cheese, and chicory.
Today the most popular filling is mortadella. This is also a ham from bologna, and they sometimes even add the pistachios, and then that will pair perfectly with the fresh white pizza. If you ask the Rome people, they will tell you they can’t have the pizza Bianca any other way.
17. Pizza tonno e cipolle
This is not your everyday pizza, even in Italy, but you will enjoy its flavors. This is a common choice in Sicily, although you have many people choosing it in Rome and Naples.
It has different toppings: canned tunas, Italian onions, mozzarella, olive oil, and oregano. The main toppings are the tunas and the onions as you can have others without even the mozzarella.
This is one of the pizzas that today has so many people who know it ordering it in pizzerias. Albeit, not many know about it.
18. Pizza al padellino
Last on the list is this pizza that you can best translate as the pan pizza. Italians like to bake in small and round pans. It mostly looks like a deep-dish pizza. It will have a thick, soft crust that’s also slightly browned. It further gives you a choice to top it with various ingredients.