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Pizza May Have Not Originated in Naples After All

Throughout the history of the beloved Italian dish, a popular legend recounts that the pizza pie was created at the end of the 19th century by a cook named Raffaele Esposito. Esposito was commissioned to create a plate to honor Queen Margherita.

This popular story is now discredited by the findings of the Italian food historian Giuseppe Nocca. Nocca’s research reveals that the origins of pizza contrary to popular belief did not originate in Naples but in a neighboring village called Gaeta located around 80 km away from Naples, almost one thousand years prior to the Esposito story.

Nocca found that the earliest use of the word ‘pizza’ was in church records in Gaeta. The word is mentioned in a Dark Ages rent agreement that was written in AD 997. The documents declare that 12 pizzas were to be provided to the local bishop on Christmas Day and Easter as part of the payment for use of the land on which a mill had been constructed.

It is not surprising that Napolitans are upset about Nocca’s findings, because pizza has always been the pride and joy of the city. For hundreds of years, people all over the world recognized Naples for its delicious invention. It’s now time we give credit to where it’s due – to the city of Gaeta!

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