"On the whole, the pizza must be soft, elastic, and easily foldable in half to form a 'libretto.'" —from an Italian draft law that would define pizza

Italian lawmakers are considering a piece of legislation that would limit what could be called "pizza" in that country. According to CNNmoney:

The draft law to separate pure pizza from the putative kind -- all three pages, eight articles and six sub-clauses of it -- was published under the state seal in the Official Gazzette on Tuesday.

It decrees that a Nepolitan pizza must be round and no more than 35 centimetres in diameter. The centre should not be higher than 0.3 cm and the crust cannot rise over two centimetres.

The law specifies what kind of flour, salt, and yeast and tomatoes have to be used. The sub clauses go even further.

If passed, we wonder if this legislation might steal some thunder from the Verace Pizza Napoletana Association, an international trade association that certifies pizzerias as being authentically Neapolitan.

But as the law would apply only in Italy, we assume the trade group would still serve a purpose outside The Boot. To gain the group's certification, pizzamakers must follow a strict set of rules similar to the proposed Italian law. The dough must be made from "Flour; Natural Yeast, Yeast of Beer; Water." The association goes on to stipulate:

The pizza dough must be worked with the hands or with a mixer approved by the Association's committee. After rising, the dough must be shaped with the hands and without a rolling pin or any mechanical means.

The cooking of the pizza must take place on the surface of the oven and not in any pan or container. The oven must be a wood burning oven and structured in a bell shape and of special brick with the floor of the pizza oven constructed of volcanic stone. The oven must be fired with only wood and kindling.

The classic pizzas and their respective basic ingredients are the following:
- Marinara (Napoletana): Tomato, olive oil, oregano, and garlic.
- Margherita: Tomato, olive oil, grated Parmesan, and fior-di-latte or mozzarella.
- Ripieno (Calzone): Ricotta, fior-di-latte or mozzarella, olive oil, and salami.
- Formaggio e Pomodoro: Tomato, olive oil, and grated Parmesan

All types of pizza are agreeable to basil leaves.

Note that the Italian law goes the trade group's rules one better and precludes mixers completely.

In New York, the only pizzerias to have received the Verace Pizza Napolitano Association's seal are La Pizza Fresca and Naples 45.

There are eight nine more in the U.S.: Antica Pizza in Los Angeles; Coppola-Niebaum Cafe in Palo Alto, Calif.; Punch Neapolitan Pizza in Saint Paul, Minn.; Regina Margherita and Il Pizzaiolo in Pittsburgh; Il Ritrovo in Sheboygan, Wisc. (a city known more for bratwurst); Tuttabella in Seattle; and Two Amy's in D.C.

UPDATE: A reader informs us that, as of February, San Francisco pizzeria A16 has been operating under VPN certification.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Here's a better AP story from the Times on the proposed Italian legislation.


Forbes on the Verace Pizza Napoletana Association.

Location: 31 East 20th Street, Manhattan 10003
Phone: 212-598-0141

Location: 200 Park Avenue, Manhattan 10166 (The MetLife Building)
Phone: 212-972-7000


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