gastronomy tradition  August 2011
    by Nunzio Romano

Italy’s Pizza and focaccia

Although the Neapolitan pizza is the most famous in the world, there are several regional variations of pizza and focaccia.

The account of the preparations, that recall our modern pizza and focaccia, is ancient: for example the Etruscans, Greeks and Romans used to bake a flat bread, both to eat alone or flavored, but in general these kind of preparations, garnished with various ingredients have always existed.
Even though Naples is the birthplace, other types of pizza and focaccia are generally widespread throughout the Italian peninsula.
Among these, the most popular varieties are:

- The Roman-style pizza: a pizza cooked in large metal trays and then sold in slices. The premises that sell pizza by the slice, although popular in many parts of Italy, are typical of the city of Rome, where, for example, you can enjoy a slice of pizza while walking in front of Piazza di Spagna or the Trevi Fountain .

- Focaccia Genovese: this variety is probably the most famous in Italy. An inch thick, seasoned with olive oil and sea salt, is one of the prides of the Ligurian cuisine, it is usually purchased in bakeries and eaten at any time of day. It is also ideal for a quick lunch if you go to visit the Ligurian sea side.

- Recco style Focaccia: another delicious Ligurian specialty, traditionally produced in some villages of the coast. It is a very special preparation because it is composed of two thin layers of dough enclosing an equally thin layer of cheese.

- High crust Pizza: it is circular, as the Neapolitan pizza, but it is very thick and is cooked in a metal tray. You can enjoy it in different cities and, in particular, the pizza is typical of the city of Milan, where you can find an abundance of pizzerias that sell slices to eat in or take away.

- Bari style Focaccia: it probably descends from the typical bread from Puglia, made with durum wheat flour, plenty of extra virgin olive oil and garnished with fresh tomatoes or olives.

- The Sfincione: topped with tomato sauce, Sicilian cheese and onions, it is typical of the city of Palermo, where you can taste it in the bakeries, pizzerias or thanks to the characteristic vendors who sell it in the streets.

- Focaccia Messinese style: one or two fingers thick, it is cooked in metal pans traditional rectangular or square. Served with vegetables, tomato, cheese and anchovies, focaccia is sold by the weight by various town’s Focacceria and cut into small rectangular pieces.

These are just some of the most typical Italian pizzas and focaccia. And you? Do you know any others?

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