Neapolitan pizza, or pizza Napolatena, is a type of pizza that originated in Naples, Italy. Neapolitan pizza is made from simple and fresh ingredients: a basic dough, raw tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, and olive oil–no fancy toppings here. One of its defining characteristics is that there is often more sauce than cheese, leaving the middle of the pie wet or soggy and not conducive to being served by the slice.
Because of this, Neapolitan pizzas are generally pretty small (about 10-12 inches), making them closer to the size of a personal pizza. Neapolitan pizzas are cooked at very high temperatures (800°F-900°F) for no more than 90 seconds.
Pizza as we know it today (dough topped with tomatoes and cheese) was invented in Naples, Italy.
Before the 1700s, flatbreads existed but were never topped with tomatoes—now a defining characteristic of pizza. Tomatoes were brought to Europe in the 16th century by explorers returning from Peru, but they were believed to be poisonous by many Europeans until poor peasants in Naples began to top their flatbread with it in the late 18th century. The dish soon became popular, with visitors to Naples seeking out the poorer neighborhoods to try the local specialty.
Marinara pizza, which does not have cheese, is so named because it was traditionally prepared by “la marinara,” the seaman’s wife, for her husband when he returned from fishing trips in the Bay of Naples.”
Baker Raffaele Esposito, who worked at the Naples pizzeria “Pietro…e basta così,” is generally credited with creating Margherita pizza, now known as the classic Neapolitan-style pizza. In 1889 King Umberto I and Queen Margherita of Savoy visited Naples and Esposito baked them a pizza named in honor of the queen whose colors mirrored those of the Italian flag: red (tomatoes), white (mozzarella), and green (basil leaves).