Different Pizza Types in Italy – What’s Your Favorite?

Ask me what my favorite pizza types in Italy are and I’ll have problems answering. From Neapolitan to the Roman pinsa, there are many types of pizza in Italy that you can tuck into during your holiday.

Are you looking for a restaurant experience or do you need a bite to grab and eat on the go while sightseeing in Rome? In this easy guide, I will lay out all the differences and types of pizza in Italy so that you know what to expect from the country’s most famous dish and how to choose your next meal.

Image: Types of pizza in Italy.

Pizza napoletana, one of the most famous pizza types in Italy

Slightly chewy and with a puffy edge (cornicione), Neapolitan-style pizza is one of my absolute favorites. Juicier and softer than the Roman counterpart, pizza napoletana is one of the most famous Italian foods and has earned a reputation as the pizza prototype in Italy.

Neapolitan pizza is highly hydrated, which is also why the final result is light and soft. This type of Italian pizza is cooked in very high temperatures for only 60 to 90 seconds, giving it the typical succulence that makes it such a favorite.

The edge is really what sets apart the Neapolitan pizza from all the other pizza types in Italy. It’s known as “cornicione” and it’s soft and chewy. The gluttony among us likes filling it with ricotta or dipping it in tasty sauces.

Image: Naples style is one of the pizza types in Italy.

Pizza romana, a thin and crunchy type of Italian pizza

Its crunchy and thin dough earned pizza romana the moniker of “scrocchiarella”. I often eat pizza in Rome and like to alternate between Neapolitan and Roman because they are both delicious.

In the Roman pizza, what we call “cornicione”, meaning the puffy edge you see in the Neapolitan style, is basically non-existent.

This type of Italian pizza is cooked at around 400°C, so less hot than the Neapolitan pizza and for longer to give time to dry out and become crunchy.

Image: Roman-style one of the types of pizza in Italy.

Pinsa, the old Roman-style pizza

Even though it’s mainly served in Rome, pinsa is one of the pizza types in Italy worth knowing. You will find the pinsa in many places in Rome both as street food to grab and eat on the go and also to enjoy sitting at a table like you would do for a regular round pizza.

One of the best pinsa in Rome is served by Pinsere in the Sallustiano neighborhood and by Pratolina in two manners, one as street food in the Trionfale area and one restaurant-style in Prati.

You will quickly see the difference between pinsa and the other pizza types in Italy because pinsa has a characteristic oval shape. Its name, in fact, comes from the Latin term “pinsere” which means “to stretch”. Made with a mix of different flours, it’s crunchy on the outside and tender inside.

Pizza fritta, a Neapolitan treat

Fried pizza is also a type of Neapolitan pizza. It’s served as street food and it’s a delicious and hearty snack.

As history goes, Naples’ pizza fritta originates from the creativity of the residents in the postwar period when poverty was widespread. The local women would put bricks and fire on the street and fry the sourdough in oil.

Today, you can enjoy fried pizza stuffed with different ingredients such as cheese, ricotta, and veggies.

Image: Fried pizza one of the pizza types in Italy.

Pizza al taglio, the best street food in Italy

This is one of the types of pizza in Italy that you can find in all the Italian regions. One of the favorite street foods, it makes for a perfect lunch when you want to save time and money.

When you enter any pizzeria al taglio, you will be spoiled for choice. The ingredients making the toppings vary and adapt to any taste and preference, including vegetarian and vegan. Some of the most common toppings for pizza al taglio would be mushrooms, anchovies, tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, cold cuts like ham and salami, and different types of seasonal veggies such as zucchini and eggplant in summer, or pumpkin and broccoli in winter.

The best pizza al taglio will be the one with fresh and seasonal toppings. In Rome, we love Bonci’s Pizzarium near the Vatican Museums because their toppings are ever-changing, guaranteeing freshness and high quality.

Image: Typical pizza al taglio in Italy.

Pizza alla pala, a Roman invention

With pizza alla pala, we mean a type of pizza that is put in the oven on a longer tray. This is a Roman invention and very popular in the capital.

The difference with most of the other types of pizza in Italy is precisely the tray used to place the dough in the oven, longer and rectangular as opposed to the common round plate. This makes the pizza thinner and crunchier and is usually prepared with less water and a smaller amount of yeast.

Image: Wooden oven for pizza al forno a legna in Italy.

Forno a legna (wood oven) vs forno elettrico (electric oven)

Even though pizza cooked in a wood oven is highly regarded as better than that made in the electric oven, lately the latter is living quite the revival.

Pizza made in the wood oven (forno a legna) reminds us of tradition and old times, it almost gives us a romantic feel. Admittedly, the taste of pizza cooked in a wood oven is unmistakable: fragrant and hearty.

So why are many pizza chefs swearing on the electric oven? Because, apart from the new European rules limiting the construction and use of new wood ovens, they state that when the dough is made properly using natural sourdough yeast, the flour and the toppings used are high-quality, and the cooking time is followed religiously, the result is an excellent one.

In Italy, I have eaten pizza cooked in both ways and when it’s well-made, you can hardly notice the difference.

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