Authentic Italian pizza toppings

Looking for authentic Italian pizza toppings? you’re in the right place!

Pizza is eaten all over the world but sometimes it’s quite hard to find authentic Italian pizza toppings. If you have never been to Italy and are keen to know what pizza tastes like as if you were in an Italian pizzeria, knowing the staple toppings is key.

Needless to say everyone can eat their pizza as they like, but if you want to get an authentic taste experience knowing the basic ingredients might be a nice surprise.

Top 5 authentic Italian pizza toppings

There are 5 staple toppings for pizza in Italy. These are available in every pizzeria from the alps to Sicily.

N.1: Margherita and Bufala

Pizza Margherita is the most famous pizza all over the world. Is the simplest pizza that uses only tomato passata, salt, mozzarella and basil. Italians love this pizza and, in fact, is the most eaten throughout the country.
There is no “pizza sauce”, no herbs, no garlic, no other ingredients added to the tomato, just pure high quality  tomato passata. The basil can be added on top at the end, and will wilt and release its flavor with the residual heat of the pizza.

The Bufala is actually a Margherita made with buffalo mozzarella. This cheese is tastier and richer than simple mozzarella and this pizza is also in the top ten of Italians favorite pizzas.
Pizza margherita

N.2: Napoli

If you ask the waiter for “una Napoli”, you’ll get a pizza with tomato passata, anchovies and mozzarella. Even though the names is “Napoli” you can hardly find it in Naples, however it is pretty common elsewhere in the peninsula.

N.3: Capricciosa

Made with a Margherita base topped with mushrooms, ham, artichokes and black olives. The actual toppings may vary depending on the location.  The name Capricciosa means “Whimsy”, it was born in the 1930s as a creative way to use leftovers. Soon after it became a staple in every pizzeria in Italy. As a result Pizza Capricciosa is actually in the third favorite pizza in Italy.

N.4: Diavola

The base is always a Margherita, with added spicy salame. The salame used is usually very hot. This is the second most loved pizza in Italy.

N.5: Quattro formaggi

If you like cheese this pizza is definitely a must-try. Made with four different cheese, the toppings melt in your mouth in an explosion of taste. You can use gorgonzola (blue cheese), fontina, mozzarella and Parmigiano.

Pizza marinara deserves a special mention. Simplicity meets an incredible taste to create the perfect pizza. Tomatoes, anchovies, garlic and oregano. In addition, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil as soon as it comes out of the oven, makes it even tastier. Sheer perfection meets simplicity.

Less famous Italian pizza toppings (but as tasty)

Firstly: Mushroom pizza, another common one you can find everywhere. Needless to say the base is always the one from Margherita. In addition to that, add white button mushrooms finely sliced and then Mozzarella. Then, as soon as you take it out of the oven, you can sprinkle some parsley for an extra boost of taste. In Italy is also common to ask for a white base instead of the classic one with tomatoes.

White mushroom pizza

Mushroom pizza is often made with a white base, and another common variation is with prosciutto crudo. The prosciutto should be absolutely added after the pizza is cooked. This way you’ll retain all the flavor of the prosciutto without cooking it.

Secondly: squash blossom pizza. Simple and yet incredibly tasty: a white base topped with squash blossoms, anchovies and mozzarella.

Underrated or unknown pizza toppings

There are a lot of pizza toppings you can choose from if you go to a typical Italian Pizzeria in Italy. For example many restaurants offer their unique variety in the menu, depending on the regional ingredients.  Likewise, there are a lot of underrated simple and yet delicious toppings.

I actually love using boiled potatoes, mashed and stir fried with olive and black pepper as topping. Pretty much everywhere  you can find pizza with grilled mixed vegetables, usually eggplants, zucchini and bell peppers.

Pizza with boiled potatoes

For instance, a very underrated and yet super tasty pizza topping is canned tuna and onion on a white base.

Best pizza for a snack: old style street food in Rome

I grew up eating pizza rossa as a snack. Even today you can buy pizza rossa in bakeries, a simple pizza with tomato sauce and oregano. Second only to pizza bianca. The very classic basic pizza. Rome is the best place to taste the real deal. It’s pretty hard to find a good pizza bianca outside Lazio. Elsewhere is pretty much like a focaccia.

If you are planning a trip to Rome  you should not miss Panella, near Rome Termini train station. Their pizza bianca is absolutely incredible, crunchy and fluffy and if you want to taste the real taste of Rome (not for vegetarians and vegans though…) you have to try Pizza with mortadella.

In conclusion, no matter where you go in Italy, you’ll always find amazing authentic pizza toppings. Actually now that you know more about it you can try one when you make your pizza at home.