When discussing Neapolitan pizza vs Roman pizza, it’s a journey through the streets of Italy, from the city of Naples, the birthplace of pizza, to the eternal city of Rome. Each city has its unique style of pizza, deeply embedded in its history and culture.
Neapolitan pizza, from Naples, has a soft and bubbly edge and is cooked fast in a very hot wood oven. Roman pizza, from Rome, is thin and crispy, baked slower and can have many toppings. The main difference in the dough is that Roman pizza has olive oil, while Neapolitan doesn’t.
Origins and History
Neapolitan Pizza: The Birthplace of Pizza
The Neapolitan style pizza hails from the Campania region, specifically the city of Naples. Traditionally, it is believed to have been a street food for the 18th-century Neapolitans. The most famous of Neapolitan pizzas is the Margherita pizza, named after Queen Margherita. With simple ingredients like San Marzano tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, and fresh basil, it presents the colors of the Italian flag. For an in-depth look at its history, check out What is Neapolitan Pizza?
Roman Pizza: A Heritage from Ancient Romans
The Roman-style pizza or pizza Romana, has its roots in the ancient Roman bread. It evolved over time to be recognized as long strips of pizza, often sold as pizza al taglio. Pizza bianca (white pizza) and pizza alla pala are other popular choices in Roman-style pizzas.
Curious about Neapolitan vs Sicilian Pizza? Read more.
Neapolitan Pizza: The Neapolitan pizza boasts an airy crust, thin base with a spongy, bubbly rim. This is achieved by baking it in a wood-fired brick oven at a high temperature, often reaching higher than New York-style pizza ovens. Want to know just how hot these ovens get? Dive into How Hot Are Neapolitan Pizza Ovens?
Roman Pizza: This type of pizza is characterized by a thin crust, crispy pizza on the edges and a bit spongy in the middle. Roman pizza dough, unlike its Neapolitan counterpart, often includes the addition of olive oil, giving it its distinct texture.
Neapolitan Pizza: Fresh tomatoes, often San Marzano, buffalo mozzarella or fior di latte, and extra virgin olive oil are staple ingredients. The Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (AVPN) or “pizza police”, has strict guidelines for what constitutes a true Neapolitan pizza, ensuring that only traditional methods and local ingredients are used.
Roman Pizza: Roman pizza is versatile in toppings. From the simple tomato sauce base to white pizzas without tomato, they have a broader range of toppings, sometimes even including zucchinis or potatoes.
The Cooking Method
Neapolitan Pizza: These pizzas are cooked at an extremely high temperature for a very short period. This quick, intense heat from a wood-fired oven gives it its characteristic blisters. Learn how to build a traditional Neapolitan pizza oven here.
Roman Pizza: Roman pizzas are baked at a lower temperature compared to their Neapolitan counterparts. They are often cooked at room temperature, in rectangular trays, and then cut into squares.
Neapolitan vs Roman Dough
When it comes to dough, the main difference between Roman and Neapolitan is the addition of olive oil in Roman dough and the method of preparation. Neapolitan dough is left to rise longer, and the use of a rolling pin is a strict no-no. Meanwhile, the Roman dough has olive oil, making it more suitable for longer baking times, resulting in a crispy yet thin pizza.
Recognition and Popularity
In 2010, UNESCO declared the Neapolitan pizza-making tradition as an Intangible Cultural Heritage. This recognition has elevated the Neapolitan pizza’s status worldwide.
However, both styles have been popularized internationally by Italian immigrants, especially in the United States. While New York-style pizza or American style pizza have made waves, traditional Neapolitan and Roman pizzas still hold their ground as authentic Italian pizza styles.
Personal Preference: Which is the Best – Neapolitan Pizza vs Roman Pizza?
When you’re torn between Neapolitan-style pizzas and Naples-style pizzas, it often boils down to personal preference. Some prefer the thin, crispy texture of Roman-style pizza, while others are enamored with the airy crust and simple ingredients of the Neapolitan.
Visiting traditional pizzerias in both Naples and Rome like Di Matteo or trying pizza tonda Romana might give you a clearer favorite. But in the end, whether you’re team Neapolitan or team Roman, it’s the love for pizza that unites all.
For a deeper dive into the Neapolitan pizza’s specialty, explore the article on Margherita Pizza vs Neapolitan Pizza.
Conclusion on Neapolitan Pizza vs Roman Pizza
Neapolitan and Roman pizzas, with their unique characteristics and flavors, represent regional variations of Italy’s beloved dish. While Neapolitan pizza takes you to the streets of Naples, Roman pizza provides a bite of the Eternal City. Whichever style you lean towards, there’s no denying that both these pizzas hold a special place in the hearts of pizza aficionados worldwide.