A Newly-Discovered Fresco in Pompeii Reveals a Precursor to Pizza

Archaeologists digging in Pompeii have unearthed a fresco containing what may be a “distant ancestor” of the modern pizza. The fresco features a platter with wine, fruit, and a piece of flat focaccia. According to Pompeii archaeologists, the focaccia doesn’t have tomatoes and mozzarella on top. Rather, it seemingly sports “pomegranate,” spices, perhaps a type of pesto, and “possibly condiments”–which is just a short hop, skip and a jump away to pizza.

Found in the atrium of a house connected to a bakery, the finely-detailed fresco grew out of a Greek tradition (called xenia) where gifts of hospitality, including food, are offered to visitors. Naturally, the fresco was entombed (and preserved) for centuries by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D.

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