Itâ€™s believed that the pizza, or at least the one that we recognize today, was invented in the 19th century. But the true date of our beloved pies may have come far earlier, as archaeologists recently uncovered a depiction of a pizza in a Roman fresco in Pompeii.
According to a report leading the excavation, however, most of the â€œcharacteristic ingredientsâ€ of a pizza are missing, â€œnamely tomatoes and mozzarella.â€ The quasi-pizza or foccaccia shown is also accompanied by wine, fruit, dough and various spices â€” all styled in a still life on a silver platter. Culturally speaking, Naples, despite a 2022 report by The Greek Times, is largely attributed as the birthplace of the flatbread pizza â€” making the latest Pompeii discovery an important historical connection. â€œPompeii never ceases to amaze,â€ noted Italyâ€™s minister of culture, Gennaro Sangiuliano, in a statement.
Originally uncovered in the 19th century and reopened for investigation earlier this year, the latest excavation took place in the atrium of an ancient building that was once connected to a bakery. â€œI think about the contrast between a modest and simple meal that reminds us of a sphere that stands between the pastoral and the sacred on one side, and the luxury of the silver trays and the refinement of the artistic and literary representations on the opposite side,â€ added Gabriel Zuchtriegel, the director general of the Archaeological Park of Pompeii. â€œWhen considering this matter, how can we not think about pizza, also born as a â€˜poorâ€™ dish in southern Italy that has now conquered the world and is served in Michelin star restaurants.â€
The fresco was found in Insula 10, Regio IX, which along with a third of Pompeii was buried during a devastating volcanic eruption by Mount Vesuvius on August 24, 79 AD.
In related news, a tourist vandalized the Roman Colosseum.