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The difference between Neapolitan, Roman, and Sicilian pizza styles

When it comes to pizza, there are three main styles that are widely recognized: Neapolitan, Roman, and Sicilian. Each of these styles has its own unique characteristics, from the type of dough used to the way it is cooked, that set it apart from the others.

Neapolitan pizza, also known as "pizza Napoletana," is widely considered to be the original form of pizza. It originated in the city of Naples in southern Italy in the 18th century. The dough is made with flour, water, yeast, and salt, and it is left to rise for at least 24 hours. Neapolitan pizza is traditionally cooked in a wood-fired oven at high temperatures (around 900 °F) for no more than 90 seconds. The crust should be puffed up and slightly charred, while the center should be soft and moist. The toppings are usually simple and typically include tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and basil.

A cozy scene in Naples, Italy with people enjoying food on restaurant terraces that jut out into the street.
Photo by David Tadmor on Unsplash

Roman pizza, which is also called "pizza al taglio," is large, rectangular, and has a crispy crust. The dough is made with flour, water, yeast, and salt, and it is left to rise for about 2-3 hours. Roman pizza is typically cooked in a gas-fired oven at high temperatures (around 800 °F) for about 15–20 minutes. The crust should be crispy and golden brown, while the center should be soft and moist. Toppings can vary widely, and are often more elaborate than those found on Neapolitan pizza.

A photo of street in Rome, Italy with the Colosseum on the far right hand side, a row of 19th century architecture on the left and sunken rectangular garden with ancient ruins.
Photo by Pixabay

Sicilian pizza, which is also called "sfincione" or "sfinciuni," has a thick crust and breadcrumbs mixed into the dough. The dough is made with flour, water, yeast, salt, and breadcrumbs, and it is left to rise for several hours. Sicilian pizza is usually cooked in a gas-fired or electric oven for 20 –30 minutes at temperatures between 350 and 450 degrees Fahrenheit. The crust should be thick and slightly chewy, while the center should be soft and moist. Toppings are often more robust than in other styles, and can include ingredients such as tomatoes, onions, anchovies, and caciocavallo cheese.

A photo of people walking along a side street in palermo overshadowed by massive corinthian columns in the background
Photo by Siret K on Unsplash

In summary, Neapolitan, Roman, and Sicilian pizzas all originate from Italy, but each has unique characteristics that set them apart. Neapolitan pizza is known for its simple toppings and is cooked in a wood-fired oven. Roman pizza is characterized by its large, rectangular shape and crispy crust, while Sicilian pizza is known for its thick crust, its use of breadcrumbs in the dough, and more elaborate toppings.

If you're craving authentic Italian pizza, it's worth trying out these different styles to compare for yourself. Whether you prefer the classic simplicity of Neapolitan, the crispy texture of Roman, or the bold flavors of Sicilian, there is a pizza out there that will suit your taste perfectly.


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