“Pizza” is one of the most popular Italian words in contemporary society. Its success is linked to the international appeal of the “thing” it designates: a mouth-watering specialty of Neapolitan cuisine, which – in diverse forms – is enjoyed the world over. But in the field of gastronomy, “pizza” also refers to other foods, both salty and sweet. And older versions of the term correspond to other types of pizza. This concise book provides a history of “pizza” and pizza – both the word and the thing – and outlines their metaphorical uses. In Roman dialect, for example, “I’ll do you two pizzas” means “I’ll slap you twice”. In colloquial Italian, “what a pizza!” conveys a sense of boredom, which is totally at odds with the dish’s universal allure.
Paolo D’Achille teaches Italian Linguistics and History of the Italian Language at the Third University of Rome.