In Napoli there is only “pizza”. There is no need to specify whether it’s Roman or what else. The only distinction is whether it’s “good” or not. There are places famous for making a great pizza, others less famous that also make excellent pizza, places that make a decent pizza, and those where the pizza is not so good. The latter ones usually don’t last very long in business. This is the result of centuries old history of pizza in Napoli that starts in XVIII century, but that is not what I want to cover here.
Living in Rome we have our own list of good (well… decent) places to eat a Neapolitan pizza. Every time we mention this to people the comment is usually “so, you like it thick…” NOOO!!!
A well done Neapolitan pizza is very soft, and very thin in the middle: about 4mm (0.15 inches). The only thick part is the outer part, the “cornicione”. How can this magic happen? The main trick is the oven temperature and the cooking time. The oven, rigorously burning wood, must be at 485°C (905°F), and the pizza stays there 60 to 90 SECONDS (no minutes). In this way the dough stays soft; where there is tomato on top it stays thin, while the outer part it grows to up to 1 or 2cm because of inside air quickly expanding before the dough consolidates.
Actually there are many details that make a good traditional Neapolitan pizza. Those who abide by those rules can use this logo:
How can I mention such accurate figures for things like temperature and thickness (or should I say “thinness”…), and refer to an official logo? Since 2010 Pizza Napoletana is a STG product (“Specialità Tradizionale Garantita”, literally “Guaranteed Traditional Specialty”) recognized by the European Union. The specifications for making the pizza are published on the site of the Italian Ministry of Agricolture at this link:
They are also published by the European Union at this link:
By the way, did I say that Neapolitan pizza is NOT thick? 🙂