Insight & Analysis

2,000-year-old painting depicts ‘distant ancestor’ to pizza!

Published: Jul 2023

A painting has been discovered in the ancient ruins of Pompei – 14 miles from Naples – where the traditional art of pizza making has been granted UNESCO protection.

A 2,000-year-old painting, which was uncovered during a recent excavation, is thought to depict a “distant ancestor” to the modern pizza, archaeologists have said, although the food looks quite different to what you might be used to!

Tomato and mozzarella, renowned for being the main ingredients of any pizza are nowhere to be seen and the dough appears to have been seasoned with spices. The image also shows a goblet of wine and a side order of dried fruit!

Pompeii was destroyed almost 2,000 years ago by an eruption of Mount Vesuvius; however, the site was not discovered until the 16th century. Since January, the site has seen a lot of archaeological activity and the painting was uncovered in the hall of a house that was once attached to a bakery.

Gabriel Zuchtriegel, the Director of Pompeii’s archaeological park, believes the artwork is there to remind us how far the humble pizza has come.

“How can we fail to think, in this regard, of pizza, also born as a ‘poor’ dish in southern Italy, which has now conquered the world and is also served in starred restaurants,” he said.

There could be many more hidden treasures, as almost one third of Pompei still remains buried under ash.

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