Pizza! Pizza?

Digs & Discoveries September/October 2023

(Courtesy Archaeological Park of Pompeii)

When Pompeian authorities recently unveiled a new wall painting, it launched an international debate. The still life includes a silver tray, a goblet of wine, assorted fruit, and what looks like a round piece of bread with toppings. Everyone agrees that the ancient Romans had no source of tomatoes or mozzarella, two key components of traditional pizza. The question remains, then, whether the image, which seems to depict focaccia topped with fruit, spices, and a type of pesto, illustrates a pizza—or not.

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