Best Regional Italian Pizza Styles to Explore

Italian Pizza Styles
Italian Pizza Styles
Best Regional Italian Pizza Styles to Explore

The Neapolitan Classic – A Benchmark for Perfection

We can’t begin our journey without acknowledging the king – the Neapolitan pizza. This pizza style, originating in Naples, Italy, is known for its thin, slightly chewy crust that puffs up around the edges when cooked in a super hot, wood-fired oven. Think of it as the foundation upon which many other regional Italian pizza styles are built.

The Neapolitan pizza is all about simplicity. Traditional toppings include a simple tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella cheese, and a sprinkle of basil. The focus is on the quality of the ingredients and the mastery of the cooking technique.

Tip: If you ever find yourself in Naples, be sure to try a pizza Margherita, the quintessential Neapolitan pizza featuring just tomato sauce, mozzarella, and fresh basil.

Roman Pizza – The Thin and Crispy Contender

Travel north to Rome, and you’ll encounter another popular style – Roman pizza (pizza Romana). Unlike its Neapolitan counterpart, Roman pizza boasts a thin and crispy crust throughout. This is achieved by using a special dough recipe with a higher hydration level (more water) and baking it in rectangular pans at very high temperatures.

Roman pizza is often cut into squares and served by the slice, making it a perfect grab-and-go option. Toppings can vary, but some popular choices include mozzarella cheese, prosciutto, fresh vegetables, and even white pizzas with no tomato sauce.

Here’s a fun fact: Roman pizza is sometimes called “pizza al taglio,” which translates to “pizza by the cut.”

Sicilian Pizza – A Square Slice of Heaven

Head south to the island of Sicily, and you’ll discover a whole new dimension of pizza. Sicilian pizza (pizza Siciliana) is a thick and focaccia-like bread base, often baked in rectangular pans. This results in a pizza with a crispy bottom, a fluffy interior, and a generous amount of toppings.

While some might mistake it for a deep-dish pizza, Sicilian pizza is lighter and less doughy. Common toppings include tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, onions, anchovies, and herbs. In some regions, you might even find Sicilian pizza stuffed with ricotta cheese (sfincione).

Did you know? Sicilian pizza is sometimes referred to as “Grandma pie” in the United States, likely due to its resemblance to pizzas traditionally baked at home in Sicily.

Beyond the Big Three: Exploring Other Regional Gems

Italy’s pizza landscape extends far beyond these three popular styles. Here are a few other regional Italian pizza styles worth exploring:

Puglian Pizza (Puglia)

Often uses semolina flour in the dough, resulting in a unique texture and flavor. Popular toppings include cherry tomatoes, burrata cheese, and local vegetables.

Ligurean Pizza (Liguria)

Known for its thin crust and creative toppings that incorporate fresh seafood and local herbs. Think shrimp, olives, and pesto variations.

Fritta Pizza (Various Regions)

A fried pizza is often found in street food stalls. The dough is typically stuffed with ricotta cheese and various fillings, then deep-fried until golden brown.


In conclusion, this is just a glimpse into the vast world of regional Italian pizza styles. Each region in Italy has its unique take on this beloved food. So, next time you’re craving pizza, consider venturing beyond the familiar and exploring a new regional style. You might just discover your new favorite pizza!