Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Friday 24 September |
The Blessed Virgin Mary—Our Lady of Walsingham
home iconArt & Culture
line break icon

The medieval and Catholic origins of your pizza


RusselStreet | CC

Zelda Caldwell - published on 06/28/17

And if you think pizza parties are a recent invention, think again

The first recorded use of the word “pizza” has been discovered in the most unlikeliest of places: in the archives of the Cathedral of Gaeta, in a deed from the year 997. It seems even Catholic bishops from the Middle Ages were fond of a slice.

According to a report in La Republica, Giuseppe Nocca, food culture historian and lecturer at the Formia Hotel Institute, traced the etymology of the word “pizza” back to a deed for the use of a mill and adjoining land belonging to the Catholic Church.

According to the terms of the document, Bernardo, the son of Duke Marino II would pay the Bishop of the Gaeta in pizza:

“Every year on Christmas Day of the Lord, you and your heirs must be paid to us and our successors, by way of rent for the overwritten bishop and without recrimination twelve pizzas (duodecim pizze), shoulder pork and kidney, and similarly twelve pizzas (duodecim pizze ) and a couple of chickens in the day of Holy Easter of Resurrection.” This “pizze” would be a Roman derivation of the Greek pitte, a plural for “pita”, just as in your common pita bread.

As Dr. Taylor Marshall, who alerted us to this discovery, points out, this is also most certainly the first recorded pizza party on record, and probably the first documented delivery as well.

Read more:
Pretzels are 1400 Years Old

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Cecilia Pigg
7 Ways the saints can help you sleep better at night
Philip Kosloski
An alternative Hail Mary to Our Lady of Sorrows
Our Lady of La Salette
Philip Kosloski
How Our Lady of La Salette can give us hope in darkness
Philip Kosloski
Pray this Psalm when you successfully recover from an illness
Philip Kosloski
Why J.R.R. Tolkien loved to attend daily Mass
Domitille Farret d'Astiès
Attacked with acid as a baby, Anmol Rodriguez overcomes and inspi...
Aid to the Church in Need
What happens when a million children pray the Rosary?
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.