Italy Tour: Naples in a Day? Pizza!

Bill Petro
5 min readAug 5, 2022

Can you visit Naples on an Italy Tour in a single day? Yes, but you are required by law to eat pizza while there.

I went to Naples by mistake (see my funny story here), but while there, I had some pizza; it was invented there.

Very popular there is the Pizza Margherita, named after Queen Margherita of Savoy (France) during her visit to Naples. According to a popular tradition, Margherita, wife of King Umberto I, came to Naples in 1889, some twenty-eight years after the unification of Italy, and met Chef Raffaele Esposito and his wife. They created it at the restaurant Pizzeria Brandi, which is still there. They named the pizza dish in honor of Queen Margherita.

It’s made with white cheese, red marinara sauce, and green basil, like the three colors of the Italian flag.

This dish, made with naturally leavened dough, is stretched and spun into a disk, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, and baked in a wood-burning, dome-shaped oven.

History of Pizza

Pizza goes back to the time of the Etruscans, who settled in northern Italy and later down to Campania in the 8th century B.C. Think of them as the Iron Age precursors to the Romans, with whom they later fought in the 4th century B.C.

Skipping forward a few millennia, on December 6, 2017, the culinary art of Neapolitan “Pizzaiuolo” was inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Google Doodle commemorated it.

The world pizza market is $120 billion; almost a third is from 76,000 US pizzerias.

For an authentic Pizza Margherita, look for:

Pizza Margherita: San Marzano Tomatoes

Authentic San Marzano Tomatoes are grown in Agro Sarnese Nocerino found between Naples and Salerno. They have a protected DOP designation. DOP is the Italian abbreviation for Protected Designation of Origin, similar to the protected status of foods like Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and balsamic vinegar.

Bill Petro

Writer, technologist, historian. Former Silicon Valley tech exec. Author of fascinating articles on history, tech, pop culture, & travel.