On Season 3 of the Netflix documentary Chef’s Table was the Episode 3 was dedicated to Nancy Silverton. Talking about what inspired her, she perfectly described Roman Pizza as the perfect street/comfort food. The peculiar differences she recognizes that make this pizza unique is basically the crust: thin, soft and crunchy at the same time.
(For reference watch Chef Table, episode 3, from min 7:30 to min 8:30)
Roman pizza was born in the bakeries and is better know as “pizza alla pala”, due to the long wooden peel designed to fit the deep bakery ovens.
It appeared in Rome after the war, and was born due the historical moment of impoverished Italy after the conflict. Most of the bread had a price fixed by the government in order to feed all the population, so at the time, pizza became an item made with the same dough but with a different price to allow the baker to make some profit. This was the start and it later became quite popular as Rome transformed as Italy’s Capital city. Rome became the headquarters of different main activities: Government, Italian television, Bank of Italy, Cinecitta’ (Cinema industry). It became in a decade a modern city with plenty of office workers with a brand new habit: the lunch break.
So pizza very soon became an affordable and delicious lunch, easy to eat while walking from the shops to the office.
NOTE: When we say Pizza Romana we should mention Pizza in Teglia, the son of pizza alla pala (also born in Rome in the beginning of the 70’s) which first appeared in the rosticcerie (Italian Rotisserie), and later in shops dedicated to its production. Another use of the noun pizza Romana is related to the round pizza (pizza tonda) generally known as pizza napoletana. In this case the adjective Romana means the style of the round pizza. Napoletana is smaller in diameter, with a big frame, while Roman pizza is wider and thinner with almost no frame.