The history of pizza begins in antiquity, when various ancient cultures produced basic flatbreads with several toppings.
A precursor of pizza was probably the focaccia, a flat bread known to the Romans as , to which toppings were then added. Modern pizza evolved from similar flatbread dishes in Naples, Italy, in the 18th or early 19th century.
The word was first documented in A.D. 997 in Gaeta and successively in different parts of Central and Southern Italy. Pizza was mainly eaten in Italy and by emigrants from there. This changed after World War II when Allied troops stationed in Italy came to enjoy pizza along with other Italian foods.
Pizza is a yeasted flatbread generally topped with tomato sauce and cheese and baked in an oven. It is commonly topped with a selection of meats, vegetables and condiments. The term was first recorded in the 10th century, in a Latin manuscript from Gaeta in Central Italy. The modern pizza was invented in Naples, Italy, and the dish and its variants have since become popular and common in many areas of the world.
In 2009, upon Italy's request, Neapolitan pizza was safeguarded in the European Union as a Traditional Speciality Guaranteed dish.The Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (the True Neapolitan Pizza Association) is a non-profit organization founded in 1984 with headquarters in Naples. It promotes and protects the "true Neapolitan pizza".
Pizza is sold fresh or frozen, either whole or in portions, and is a common fast food item in Europe and North America. Various types of ovens are used to cook them and many varieties exist. Several similar dishes are prepared from ingredients commonly used in pizza preparation, such as calzone and stromboli.