THE VERY FIRST PIZZERIA
Pizzeria Antica Port'Alba, originally established in 1738 as a market stall, was opened in 1830 in the city center on Via Port'Alba 18, Naples, Italy. It is believed to be the world's first pizzeria.
WHAT WAS IN THIS PIZZERIA?
The restaurant replaced street vendors who cooked pizza in wood-burning ovens and took it outside, heating it up in small pewter pots they held on their heads. Soon the restaurant became a well-known meeting place for men. Most of the regulars were artists, students, or other people with little income, so the pizza was usually plain, with additives such as butter and garlic.
A payment system, called pizza otto, was developed that allowed customers to pay up to eight days after eating. As a result, a local joke was that food from Port Alba could be a person's last free meal if they died before they paid. In addition, patrons created poems in honor of the pizza.
ANTICA PORT'ALBA - TODAY AND ALWAYS!
Surprisingly, Antica Port'Alba pizzeria still operates today. A favorite pizza in the old days here was "Mastunicola", which was filled with sheep cheese, lard and some basil. Besides basil and oregano, which have long been the two most common herbs used in pizza, other toppings at this pizzeria include buffalo mozzarella, seafood, smoked meat and a tiny white fish known as cucinelli.
Since opening in 1830, the pizzeria's ovens have been lined with lava stones brought in from Vesuvius, the volcano towering over Naples. Since its founding, the pizzeria had traditionally been run by the Luciano family.
Over the years, the family has had plenty of time to amass more than enough anecdotes. In one, Ferdinand II of Bourbon, king of the two Sicilies in the mid-1800s, would secretly come to the pizzeria to find out the mood of his people. Famous locals also stopped by, like Giuseppe Moscati, the scientist who pioneered biochemistry and was later canonized by the Catholic Church.
But the real pizza boom came after World War II, when veterans returning from Italy were able to introduce many Italian delicacies. This era was marked by the growth of pizza chains, including Domino's, Papa John's and Pizza Hut.
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