Napolità: The Most Popular Neapolitan Pizza

Neapolitan pizza, often referred to as “pizza Napoletana,” is a culinary masterpiece that has taken the world by storm. With its origins deeply rooted in Naples, Italy, Neapolitan pizza has become one of the most beloved and sought-after dishes globally. In this article, we will explore the fascinating world of Neapolitan pizza, from its history and traditional preparation to its popularity and the reasons behind its enduring appeal.

The Birth of Neapolitan Pizza

1. Historical Origins

Neapolitan pizza’s history can be traced back to the vibrant streets of Naples in the 18th century. It was during this time that pizza, as we know it today, began to take shape. Originally, it was a simple and humble food, consisting of a thin, unleavened flatbread topped with local ingredients.

2. Margherita Pizza

The traditional Neapolitan pizza dough forms the heart of every Neapolitan pizza. Queen Margherita of Savoy is said to have created one of the most iconic Neapolitan pizza varieties in 1889, adorning the pizza with ingredients representing the colors of the Italian flag: red tomatoes, white mozzarella cheese, and green basil. This royal connection contributed to the pizza’s popularity and established the Margherita as a Neapolitan classic.

Traditional Neapolitan Pizza-Making

1. Dough Preparation

The traditional Neapolitan pizza dough consists of high-quality, finely ground wheat flour, natural Neapolitan yeast, water, and sea salt. Skilled artisans carefully mix, hand-knead, and allow the dough to ferment for several hours, resulting in a soft, elastic, and flavorful base.

2. The San Marzano Tomato

Choosing tomato sauce plays a critical role in the success of Neapolitan pizza. Pizzaiolos typically use San Marzano tomatoes, a variety renowned for its sweet, low-acid flesh, and intense flavor, to crush and evenly spread over the pizza’s surface.

3. Mozzarella di Bufala

Mozzarella di Bufala, a type of mozzarella cheese made from the milk of water buffaloes, features a renowned creamy texture and a rich, slightly tangy flavor. Pizzaiolos tear it into small pieces and scatter it over the tomato sauce in authentic Neapolitan pizza.

4. Fresh Basil Leaves

Neapolitan pizza is adorned with fresh basil leaves, which add a burst of fragrance and color. The basil is typically hand-torn and placed on top of the cheese and tomato sauce.

5. Wood-Fired Oven

Neapolitan pizza is traditionally cooked in a wood-fired oven. The oven’s high temperature, usually exceeding 900°F (480°C), cooks the pizza in just 60 to 90 seconds, resulting in a puffy and slightly charred crust.

Popularity of Neapolitan Pizza

1. International Appeal

Napolità’s popularity has transcended borders and become a global phenomenon. You can find pizzerias serving authentic Neapolitan pizza in nearly every corner of the world, from New York City to Tokyo. Its widespread appeal can be attributed to its simplicity and the use of high-quality ingredients.

2. Certification and Regulation

To preserve the authenticity of Neapolitan pizza, organizations like the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (AVPN) in Italy have established strict guidelines and certification processes for pizzerias. To earn the coveted “Vera Pizza Napoletana” certification, pizzerias must adhere to specific rules regarding ingredients, preparation, and cooking methods.

3. The Neapolitan Pizza Culture

Napolità has become more than just a meal; it’s a cultural experience. Many pizzerias pride themselves on maintaining traditional techniques and creating a welcoming atmosphere where diners can savor not only the pizza but also the rich history behind it.

Enduring Appeal of Neapolitan Pizza

1. Simplicity and Quality

One of the key reasons behind Neapolitan pizza’s enduring appeal is its commitment to simplicity and quality. The minimalistic approach to toppings allows the quality of the ingredients and the craftsmanship of the pizzaiolo (pizza maker) to shine through.

2. Unmistakable Flavor

The wood-fired cooking method imparts a distinctive smoky flavor and charred texture to the crust, while the combination of San Marzano tomatoes, Mozzarella di Bufala, and fresh basil creates a flavor profile that is both harmonious and unforgettable.

3. Cultural Significance

Napolità is more than just a dish; it’s a cultural symbol of Naples and Italy. Napolità history and connection to Italian heritage make it a cherished culinary tradition that is celebrated and respected around the world.

4. Versatility and Customization

While Neapolitan pizza is renowned for its traditional Margherita and Marinara varieties, it also offers room for creative interpretation. Many pizzerias offer unique toppings and flavor combinations, allowing diners to enjoy the classic or explore innovative options.

5. Sustainably Sourced Ingredients

In recent years, there has been a growing emphasis on sustainability and sourcing high-quality, locally produced ingredients. Many Neapolitan pizzerias have embraced this trend, further enhancing the appeal of the pizza by supporting local farmers and producers.


Napolità, with its rich history, traditional preparation methods, and worldwide popularity, continues to captivate pizza enthusiasts and food lovers alike. Its enduring appeal is a testament to the beauty of simplicity, the quality of ingredients, and the cultural significance it carries. Whether you enjoy it as a classic Margherita or explore new and exciting flavor combinations, Neapolitan pizza remains a beloved and iconic culinary treasure.

(FAQs) about Neapolitan pizza:

1. What distinguishes Neapolitan pizza from other types of pizza?

   Neapolitan pizza is known for its simplicity and adherence to tradition. It features a thin, soft, and slightly charred crust, San Marzano tomato sauce, Mozzarella di Bufala cheese, and fresh basil. The use of high-quality ingredients and a wood-fired oven sets it apart.

2. Is Neapolitan pizza vegetarian-friendly?

   Yes, Neapolitan pizza is vegetarian-friendly. The classic Margherita variety, which includes tomato sauce, mozzarella, and basil, is a popular vegetarian choice. However, some pizzerias offer additional vegetarian toppings and combinations to cater to a variety of tastes.

3. What is the significance of the Vera Pizza Napoletana certification?

   The Vera Pizza Napoletana (VPN) certification is a prestigious recognition awarded by organizations like the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (AVPN). It certifies that a pizzeria follows strict guidelines and traditional methods for making Neapolitan pizza. It assures customers that they are experiencing an authentic Neapolitan pizza.

4. How can I make Neapolitan pizza at home without a wood-fired oven?

   While a wood-fired oven is ideal for Napolità you can replicate the experience at home using a pizza stone or pizza steel in your conventional oven. Preheat your oven to the highest temperature and place the stone or steel on the top rack. This will help achieve a similar crust texture.

5. Are there gluten-free or vegan options for Neapolitan pizza?

   Napolità, with its strict adherence to tradition, may not typically offer gluten-free or vegan options. However, some modern pizzerias have started to cater to dietary preferences by offering gluten-free crusts and plant-based cheese, allowing individuals with dietary restrictions to enjoy Neapolitan-style pizza.

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