Pizza celebrated by Cinema

The link between Cinema and food is known to everybody being they audience or just people working in this field : actors, producers, screen-players, directors. Cinema-Food has been shown  as a “perfect union” by many film directors of the past and of the present through the years : Mario Mattioli , Vittorio De Sica, Eduardo De Filippo, Lina Wertmuller in Italy and abroad many more. They have portrayed food in the movies, theatres, fictions, according to their culinary traditions, habits and customs. This subject is many-fold : food as realism and mirror of our daily life, food as icon of our national identity or family identity but also food and power , food and sex; food on the  table of the Rich or food on the table of the Poor. Cinema which holds  as many as different ages that seem to come out the kitchen to be linked  to the facts of the time.

 Who doesn’t remember  Totò  the Italian actor called the Prince  playing in Miseria and nobiltà (1954) , directed by Mario Mattioli, dancing on the table with Peppino De Filippo eating greedly spaghetti and sticking  them into their mouths and into their pockets? A clear way to underline the relationship between hunger/food of a people living in a post war country.

 Pizza has played a major role in television and in the movies, with appearances in such films as  “The Gold in Naples(1954) by Vittorio De Sica, starring Sofia Loren where she plays a hot-tempered pizzaiola . She likes to show her passion for food  being herself an excellent cook.

It has been also made a cartoon for children called Totò Sapore. But it is present in many other movies like Splendor in the Grass, The French Connection, Mystic Pizza, Do the Right Thing, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Multiplicity, Lover Boy, Nightmare on Elm Street, The Caddy (featuring Dean Martin's song "That's Amore"), Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco, Spaceballs, Toy Story, Delivery Boys, Free Willy III and I Love You to Death.

Pizza celebrated by Music

Many famous singers from Naples and other countries have written songs or just made popular songs that celebrated the goodness of this Italian dish. We can number among them:


American singer Dean Martin “That's Amore"  from the movie the Caddy

File Size: 543 kb
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Neapolitan singer Aurelio Fierro  “A pizza ca’ pummarola”

File Size: 435 kb
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Neapolitan singer  Pino Daniele “Fatte na Pizza“

File Size: 962 kb
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Pizza celebrated by Poems

Pizza, this superb and at the same time popular creation , has been celebrated in the most refined texts of Vernicular literature in Italy but also in English literature. They have praised this poor dish yet tasty and flavoursome  enhancing in their verses its goodness, the art of making pizza, how a true pizza should be.


O’ pizzaiuolo, a poem by Raffaele Viviani (1888-1950) written in the 1940s tells of a pizza man in the streets of Naples where there is cold, desperation, hunger, trying to sell his pizzas in the typical tin stove washtub and convince  penniless passer-bys  to buy his pizzas. It recites:

O’ pizzaiuolo

Pizzaiuo' m' h 'a fa' ' na pizza

muzzarella e pummarola...

Ma ll he 'a fa' cu 'e mmane,'o core

e...'a fronda e vasenicola.

Falla bbona!

Mana grassa a mozzarella,

mitte ll'uoglio, mitte 'o ssale...

Falla fa' chiù arruscatella:

quanno è cotta nun fa male....

. cotta bbona!

E vullente,a' dint' 'o furno,

nun l' he 'a mettere 'int' 'o piatto

ca si no perde 'o sapore...

Io m' 'a piglio e a chievo a libretto...

Quant'è bbona!

E cu famma e devuzione

magno primma 'o cornicione...

'O profumo è sapurito!

Mentre magno sto abboccato

p' 'o....vestito..

Comme coce! e quat'è bella!


Another famous important vernicular Neapolitan poet is Salvatore Di Giacomo who was a pizza lover  and used to go to the pizzeria where a lady by the name Amelia was making pizzas with “pasta cresciuta”, that would have been  fried in big frying pan, and watching the way she was making them. He wrote this poem celebrating pizza and the way it was made.

Donn’ Amalia ‘a Speranzella by Salvatore Di Giacomo

Donn'Amalia 'a Speranzella
quanno frie paste crisciute
mena l'oro 'int' 'a tiella..."


Che bellezza chillu naso

ncriccatiello e appuntutiello,

chella vocca ‘e bammeniello

e chill’uocchie, e chella faccia

mmiez ‘e tìtttole e’ a vurraccia!


Pe sta femmina cianciosa io farria qualunque cosa!...

piscietiello addeventasse,

dint’ ‘o sciore m’avutasse,

m’afferrasse sta manella,

mme menasse’ int’ ‘a tiella

donn’Amalia’ a Speranzella

A Margherita

'A quando sta 'o benessere
'a gente pensa a spennere
e mo' pure o' chiù povero
'o siente 'e cumannà

Voglio una pizza a vongole
chiena 'e funghette e cozzeche
con gamberetti e ostriche
d'o mare 'e sta città

Al centro poi ce voglio
n'uovo datto alla cocca
e co liquore stik
l'avita annaffià

Quando sentenno st'ordine
ce venne cca'na stizza
pensano ma sti pizze,
songo papoccie o che.

Ca se rispetta ìa regola
facenno 'a vera pizza
chella ch'è nata a Napule
quasi ciennt'anne fa.

Chesta ricetta antica
si chiamma Margherita
ca quanno è fatta a arte
po ghi nant'a nu re.

Perciò nun e cercate
sti pizze complicate
ca fanno male 'a sacca
e 'o stommaco pati.

Gennaro Esposito


American writer Arnold Adoff


Arnold Adoff discovered his love of words as a child growing up in the Bronx and is the author of over 30 books for children and young adults.  He is the winner of the 1988 NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children.

Pizza Poem  

The Baker
wanted me to know that
the cheese and sausage bits
and pepperoni slices
and beneath
the onions and mush
rooms and green pepper dices the only thing that counted was the dough.

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