Is Pizza Different in Name Too in Italy? – You Should Know

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Pizza is a word that came from Italy, but how do we ask for one in Italy?

Surely we don’t need to speak Italian. Interestingly, pizza is named differently in Italy. So, one word is not enough to explain your order.

So, what is pizza called in Italy?

Pizza came from the words Cornicione and crostata, both of which mean mouthful. The literal translation of pizza to English means a pie. To the outside world, pizza is also known as a tomato pie or pizza pie, originating from Italy. So, to request a pizza, order a Capricciosa in Italy.

But where did the name come from and then become widely popular in Italy and worldwide? What are the different types of pizzas there? Read on to learn more.

Where Does Pizza Originate?

Where Does Pizza Originate

Pizza comes from Italy, but what’s the real history? Who indeed envisioned and designed pizza?

In the early 6th century, Lombards brought the name bizzo or Pizzo to Italy. These words mean mouthfuls. The term pizza later developed from these words.

The Latin meaning of the word is to pound or stamp.

The origin of pizza is in Naples, Italy. In the 18th or 19th century, Romans used flatbreads similar to focaccia with some toppings. It was the first idea behind the pizza dish. 

But the concept of a flatbread with toppings like cheese, herbs, onion, etc., was prevalent even earlier during the great battles of Persia and Greece. Later, various cultures adapted this idea with different flatbreads.

In Italy, pizza became more popular and was branded as a local cuisine by Queen Margherita. She visited Naples and came to know about this dish. Pizza then spread to the US and then throughout the world. New York came to know about it from Sicily. 

It seems that the word ‘pizza’ was known for a long time but only coined as the food we know in Gaeta first and then in other parts of Italy. Now it is very popular with the English-speaking community.

What Do They Call Pizza in Italy?

what do they call pizza in italy

Pizza is the ideal word to call this food. But Italians might use other words as well. It includes crostata and torta to describe savory and sweet pies, respectively.

The word crostata means the pie’s edge. Similar to a pie, pizzas have a soft crust on the inside. In addition, pizza is also called a tomato pie in several places.

However, in Itali, a pizza is always a pizza – the cheese and Mariana topper crispy crust.

1. How to Ask for Pizza in Italy?

Simply ask for one pizza to enjoy an authentic pizza made in any Italian restaurant! But how do you say pizza in Italian?

Firstly, choose your pizza flavor. Then say, ‘ I want to order a Capricciosa, per favore.’ Even if you can’t speak full Italian, the term Capricciosa is all they need to understand pizza. Then they will ask for the size you want. You only need to point to the part you wish to as they show the knife on the pizza.

In italics, pizza slices are available for takeout and eating in place, both.

2. What does Pizza Mean in English?

Interestingly, the literal translation of pizza in English means cake or pie. It is this mistake for which pizza becomes a pie. But the definition of pizza is a flatbread made of flour with some toppings over it, like tomatoes, onions, veggies, meat, and cheese. 

Is Pizza also Called a Pie?

Is Pizza also Called a Pie

Pizza is also called a pie, primarily by Americans. It is because the Italian word was misunderstood to mean a pie.

The reference became more valid when Italians brought their tomato pie to the United States. Like a cake or pie, pizza has an outer, thick, and hard crust, with a filling of tomato sauce, meat, and cheese.

American pizzas are all referred to as pies, regardless of the flavor, like the Napoli pizza.

What are the Two Types of Pizzas in Italy: Cheese Or No-Cheese

Even if we know countless pizzas flavors nowadays, Italians, traditionally, have only two main types. These are:

  • Marinara Pizza- A classic vegan-friendly pizza with tomatoes, oregano, garlic, and olive oil on regular Italian pizza dough.
  • Margherita Pizza- The most popular one on every Italian street, with tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, basil, and good chunks of mozzarella on the pizza dough.

You may think Margherita pizza and cheese pizza are similar. That’s not true – one is Italian, and the other American. But there are several significant differences between Margharita pizza and cheese pizza.

Based on these two types, here are 7 different styles of pizza you get.

7 Italian Pizza Styles

7 Italian Pizza Styles

Italian pizzas are no plain Jane. Even with minimum toppings, they have made popular some other styles of authentic Italian flavors. 

1. Pizza Napoletana

The first ever made pizza in Naples, Italy, has now become a cultural heritage by UNESCO. It is a classic Italian pizza with a dough made of wheat flour, yeast, salt, and warm water. The dough is left to rest for at least 24 hours.

It is a flat and round crust pizza with a single topping. The pizza is baked at 900 F in a  wood-burning oven for 90 seconds. You will have a soft and stretchy pizza with a fresh aroma. 

2. Pizza Alla Pala

You will find it in Roman bakeries made with leftover bread dough. The crust is stretched and then topped off with fresh ingredients. They bake in a wooden oven in the same method as any Italian pizza. But this is wetter than the Napoletana pizza with a fluffy and crispy crust. You can also make one in an electric oven at 580°F.

3. Pizza Tonda Romana

Like pizza Alla pala, the crust is flat, thin, and round. But after baking, the pizza will come out crispy like a cracker.

4. Pizza al Taglio

A street-friendly pizza that means “pizza by the cut.” Unlike other pizzas, this one is made in a large rectangular pan. Before serving, they will cut the pizza into squares or long strips according to your choice.

5. Pizza Fritta

Another popular street food in Naples is fried pizza or pizza Fritta. You can make it in any shape or size. This includes a round Montanari pizza which also resembles a half-moon. Another half-moon fried pizza is Panzerotti. It has mozzarella, tomato, and ricotta.

After World War II, the soldiers used to fry their dough and use any ingredient they got.

6. Pizza al Padellino

This is a pan-cooked pizza, usually round and small. The crust is thick and soft and slightly brown. Toppings can include prosciutto or mozzarella.

7. Pizza Siciliana

Here we have another widely popular Italian pizza. Termed from Sicily, this pizza has a thick and fluffy crust, more like a spongy texture. The choice of toppings is excellent, from tomato sauce and anchovies to onions, oregano, and even hard cheese made from sheep’s milk.

The signature thing about this pizza is the breadcrumbs topped at the end to filter out some oil from frying. You will also get this as street food.

Making An Original Italian Pizza

To make an original Italian pizza, you don’t need a firewood oven! Simply choose the right ingredients.

  • Pick out freshly picked tomatoes, boil them and peel off the skin.
  • Then use fresh garlic, olive oil, and herbs to make a marinara sauce.
  • You also need special pizza flour to make the dough using yeast, salt, and warm water.
  • Keep your dough for at least 24 hours before baking.
  • After making the crust, spread the homemade sauce on top.
  • Now, add some mozzarella and any topping you wish, like basil leaves, black olives, ham, bell peppers, etc.
  • Bake your pizza for seconds to ensure the crust is thin but not too dry or hard.
  • Your delicious pizza is ready.

How is Pizza Different in Italy?

You can smell an Italian pizza as unique from others due to their making from dough to toppings. It is what a pizza looks like in Italy:

  • Thin crust and small sizes
  • Homemade marinara sauce with fresh ingredients
  • A single topping, including cheese
  • Less time for baking, more time for making
  • More veggies and less meat
  • Less spicy with herbs.


  • What does pizza look like in Italy?

Italian pizza is fresh and looks fantastic with a thin and elevated crust. The toppings are spread to make it look like a soup bowl. You can easily think of pizza as a savory pie with many marinaras. You can easily eat a single pie yourself.

  • What are some delicious pizzas in Italy?

All pizzas are delicious in Italy to blow your mind. But to enjoy one to remember the taste forever would be either pizza Margherita or the Bufala. Be sure to get a fresh and aromatic flavor from their pizza.

  • How do Italians ask for pizzas?

Pizza is also called pizza in Italy. But some may say ‘cher pizza’ to order one. In other areas, people also say ‘schiacciata’ for some added strength.


We are united by pizza all around the world. But what do they call pizza in Italy?

Hence, whatever it is called, pizza is the one word for the dish. Wherever you go, even in Italy, name the word, and you get one. The only difference is in the way we ask for it.

As a staple dish from Italy, the food has quite some varieties in names. These come from different places of origin. The only difference is that pizza is commonly called a pie in America. Even if pizza means pie in Italy, Italians hardly call it a pie.