How to order pizza like an Italian

Adam Jones | 22/11/2018
Pizzaria in Italy. Eating Pizza in Italy.
Pizzaria in Italy

It hits your nose first. The server is coming your way with a plate in hand, a warm steaming pizza that was freshly made and just pulled from the oven. You lean back in your chair and soak up the sights, feeling a bit more in Italy with every bite you take.

How do you best guarantee sliding your way into pizza bliss? It starts from knowing how to order.

Italian pizza may be a little different than what you’re used to back home — you might be walking in Rome and grab a rectangular slice of pizza al taglio or in Naples where certain pizzas are certified as being Neapolitan.

How To Order

Aside from the names of ingredients, when it comes to ordering pizza you’ll want to know two specific Italian words — con and senza. Con is the word for with, and senza the word for without. So you might order ‘una pizza margherita con melanzane’ (a margarita pizza with aubergines). Perhaps you’d prefer ‘una pizza capricciosa senza uovo’ (a cappricciosa pizza with no egg)

What’s a cappriciosa pizza? Let’s go over some common Italian pizza types.

The Pie Guide

  • Marinara: tomato, oregano, garlic
  • Margherita: tomato, mozzarella
  • Napoletana: tomato, mozzarella, anchovies
  • Funghi: tomato, mozzarella, mushrooms
  • Quattro formaggi: four types of cheese
  • Con verdure / vegetariana: a vegetarian pizza, often with tomato, mozzarella, peppers, aubergines and courgettes
  • Salsiccia: tomato, mozzarella, sausage
  • Capricciosa: tomato, mozzarella, mushrooms, artichokes, sausage or ham and sometimes egg

Italian Pizza. Salami, garlic, cheese pizza.

What Goes on Top


  • Salamino: Pepperoni
  • Prosciutto Cotto: Cooked Ham
  • Prosciutto Crudo: Raw Ham
  • Salsiccia: Sausage
  • Pancetta: Cured Pork
  • Porchetta: Pork


  • Pomodoro, Pomodorini: Tomato
  • Piselli: Peas
  • Patate: Potato
  • Funghi: Mushrooms
  • Porcini: Porcini Mushrooms
  • Olive Nero: Black Olive
  • Rucola: Green vegetable like lettuce
  • Carciofi: Artichoke
  • Melanzane: Eggplant
  • Pepperoni: Green Peppers
  • Peperoncino: Hot Peppers
  • Verdure Miste: Mixed Vegetables

Let’s Get Eating

If you’re eating in at an Italian pizzeria, you may be in for an additional treat — starters. In North American pizza joints you’ll possibly get sides — usually with a somewhat limited selection. The variety of Italian starters is much greater. Fried starters can range from things like mozzarelline (fried mozzarella balls) to olive ascolane (fried olives filled with meat) to fiori di zucca (fried zucchini flower filled with anchovies and mozzarella). Fresher starters can be found as well, ranging from grilled vegetables, to prosciutto, to crostini.

A Sweet Finish

In Italy it’s not unusual to finish off a trip to the pizzeria with some kind of dessert. A lot of these desserts might be more familiar to you, but not something you typically associate with a pizza place.

A dessert at a real Italian pizzeria might be something like  tiramisù, panna cotta,  or creme caramel. Other potential options are gelato, sorbetto, or fresh fruit such as fragole (strawberries) or ananas (pineapple).

So when you’re placing your pizza order keep that in mind — you may need a little room for dessert.