The History of Pizza, in Eight Slices

Rudie Obias

Pizza has come a long way from its ancient origins. In the latest installment from PBS’s Idea Channel on YouTube, host Mike Rugnetta takes viewers through the history of pizza in eight short parts (or slices).

First up: a pie from Lombardi’s in New York City, the shop that is widely credited as the first pizzeria in the U.S. It’s also one of more than 2000 pizza shops throughout the city and a significant part of the dish's history in this country. But, according to Rugnetta, it's not where the beloved dish's story begins.

"There's evidence going back as far as Ancient Rome, Greece, and Egypt that . . . people used 'bread as a plate,'" Rugnetta explains. And as the concept moved across the globe, it evolved in different ways. Sicilian pizza, thick and square-shaped, originated from Palermo, Sicily while Neapolitan pizza, thin and round, was considered lower class food in Naples, Italy during the 18th century.

Today's slices are lot easier to come by, Rugnetta points out, because of modern comforts like frozen pizza and delivery pizza, which originated with Italian royalty in 1889 and was popularized with DomiNick's (later renamed Domino's Pizza) in 1961. Learn why New Yorkers and Chicagoans were destined to feud over the best pie and more in the video above.

Images courtesy of PBS via YouTube.