Three to-go pizzas sitting on their cardboard boxes.
Home » Italian Food Basics » Authentic Italian Pizza Toppings – My Italian Family’s Favorites + Printable Quick Guide 

Authentic Italian Pizza Toppings – My Italian Family’s Favorites + Printable Quick Guide 

Last updated on June 22nd, 2024

If you have ever been to a pizzeria in Italy you have probably felt a bit overwhelmed by the selection of authentic Italian pizza toppings on their menu, let alone all the different pizza specialties.

I get it! I was in your shoes too. It took me years to eat enough pizza to make my way through all the different types of pizza Italy has to offer and decide which authentic Italian pizza toppings were my favorite. 

I have now been in Italy for ten years and have four kids so you can bet pizza is on the menu several times a month! 

So the next time you sit down for pizza in Italy keep this guide handy and you will never feel confused or overwhelmed again by the pizza selection. In this article I will cover:

  • Types of Authentic Italian Pizzas
  • Authentic Italian Pizza Toppings to try
  • Toppings you won’t find in Italy
  • How to order your favorite pizza in Italy

Italy has so many amazing choices when it comes to authentic Italian pizza toppings. Just take it one pie at a time and you, too, will soon find which pizzas you are coming back to Italy for year after year. Let’s begin!

Authentic Italian Pizza

Sign in glass display showing a menu for Pizzeria da Linda in Italy.

When you order pizza in Italy from a pizzeria and first take a look at the menu, you will notice that there are several pizzas to choose from. These are specific pizzas made with authentic Italian pizza toppings which pair well with each other, according to Italians.

Below is a list of the most typical pizzas you will see on menus at an Italian pizzeria. Don’t be surprised if you see other pizza suggestions as every region, restaurant, and pizzaiolo (pizza maker) may be making their own one-of-a-kind pizzas. These are just the most common and popular authentic Italian pizzas.

For example, coastal seaside towns such as Livorno, Pisa, Positano or Napoli might even include shellfish such as mussels on pizza. Pizza with truffles, on the other hand, are going to be a regional specialty, sold at pizzerias in regions such as Piedmont, Tuscany and Umbria

close up pizzas margherita from top view with red sauce and mozzarella white cheese with three pieces of whole basil on top
Italian Pizza NamePronunciationDescription
Marinaramah-ree-nah-rahtomato sauce, garlic, oregano (vegan)
Margheritamahr-geh-ree-tahtomato sauce, mozzarella (basil)
Napolinah-poh-leetomato sauce, mozzarella, anchovies and oregano
Bufalaboo-fah-lahtomato sauce, buffalo mozzarella
Burrataboor-rah-tahtomato sauce, burrata cheese
Diavoladee-ah-voh-lahtomato sauce, mozzarella, spicy salami
Margherita Grana E Rucolamahr-geh-ree-tah grah-nah eh roo-coh-lahmargherita with grated grana (hard, aged parmesan style cheese) and fresh arugula/rocket
Cotto E Funghicoht-toh eh foon-geemargherita pizza with cooked ham and mushrooms
4 Formaggikwaht-troh fohr-mahj-jeea white pizza with a combination of four different Italian cheeses
Capresecah-preh-zehfresh tomatoes, mozzarella and fresh basil
4 Stagionikwaht-troh stah-joh-neemargherita pizza with olives, artichokes, mushrooms and cooked ham
Colonnatacoh-lohn-nah-tahwhite pizza with slices of lard on top
Romanaroh-mah-nahmargherita with capers, olives, anchovies and oregano
Vegetarianaveh-jeh-tahr-ee-ah-nahmargherita with peppers, eggplant, and zucchini
Parmigianapahr-mee-jah-nahmargherita with eggplant and Parmigiano Reggiano
Boscaioloboh-skah-eeohh-lohpizza with mozzarella, truffles and sausage (may be with or without tomato sauce)
Tonno e Cipollatohn-noh eh cheep-pohl-lahmargherita with canned tuna and thinly sliced onion
Capricciosacah-preech-choh-sahmargherita with cooked ham, mushrooms, capers, olives, anchovies and oregano
Gorgonzolagohr-gohn-zoh-lahmargherita with gorgonzola cheese
Würstelvooh-stehlmargherita with slices of hot dogs
Patatinepah-tah-tee-nehmargherita topped with french fries
Calzonecahl-zoh-neha folded pizza with various fillings including mozzarella and tomato sauce. 


top view close up of pizza marinara on a wooden surface topped with a sprinkling of oregano and fresh basil leaves.

This is one of Italy’s favorite snacks, merenda, and even breakfast items, made from simply pizza sauce, garlic and oregano. 

This is Italy’s vegan pizza. There is no cheese or any other dairy products. For vegan travelers, order this pizza with any additional vegetarian topping you like such as mushrooms or eggplant. 


Margherita pizza in Italy, with shredded basil, tomato sauce, and mozzarella.

La margherita is Italy’s most popular pizza made with tomato sauce and topped with mozzarella fior di latte and sometimes fresh basil

Good To Know: Not all pizzerias put fresh basil on their margherita so be sure to ask for un po’ di basilico on your margherita. 


Originally from Naples, this is another popular pizza choice in Italy made with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and topped with anchovies and oregano. This is for those of you who like salty pizzas! 


Close up of Roman pinsa with fresh mozzarella and basil.

La bufala, a pizza margherita made with buffalo milk mozzarella cheese has two schools of thought. Those Italians who love it because of the excellent flavor of the bufala and those who think it ruins the pizza because it makes it too soggy. 

Both are true. The bufala mozzarella is much more liquidy and can tend to make the pizza soggy in the middle but the flavor is unbeatable. I think the trade off is worth it for the extra flavor but you are just going to have to try it and make up your mind: bufala mozzarella or regular margherita pizza? 


A burrata pizza is made as a margherita pizza but instead of fior di latte mozzarella, burrata is used, adding an extra element of creaminess. It’s a bit messy but truly delicious


Pizza in Italy with spicy salame as a topping.

The word diavola comes from the word diavolo meaning the devil, referencing the heat from this spicy pizza. This pizza is made just as a margherita pizza with the addition of spicy salami. 

Good To Know: Sometimes this pizza is called a pizza calabrese.

Margherita Grana E Rucola

Margherita grana e rucola pizza is a margherita pizza with the addition of fresh shavings of Grana Padano (a hard, aged cow’s milk cheese similar to parmesan) and arugula. 

The grana and arugula are added after the pizza has been cooked, lightening up the whole thing with a touch of freshness. 

Cotto E Funghi

A pizza with cotto e funghi is a margherita pizza with prosciutto cotto (cooked ham) and mushrooms. 

Pregnant Travelers: Pizza with cotto e funghi is a great choice for pregnant women. It’s a safe pizza to eat and has lots of flavor. 

4 Formaggi 

A pizza ai 4 formaggi is a pizza made with four different kinds of cheese, the combination however, will be up to the pizzaiolo or pizza chef. Typical combinations include mozzarella, scamorza, gorgonzola and Parmigiano Reggiano. Other cheeses you might find are Fontina, Grana Padano and caciocavallo. 

Usually this type of pizza is a white pizza, meaning made without tomato sauce but not always. If this is important to you, be sure to ask the waiter. 


As its name implies, this pizza is much like a caprese salad made with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella and fresh basil. A caprese pizza is particularly good in the summer when it’s quite hot out in Italy and the ingredients are fresh. 

4 Stagioni 

4 Stagioni is a classic Italian pizza beloved by many made from a margherita pizza topped with four ingredients: artichokes, cooked ham, mushrooms and olives. 

Good To Know: 4 stagioni is a type of pizza that is quite heavy because of all the toppings, making it hard to eat, especially if you try to eat it with your hands. To learn more about how to eat pizza in Italy, read How Do Italians Eat Pizza? and Do Italians Eat Pizza With a Fork?


La pizza Colonnata is named for the addition of lardo colonnata, a highly prized type of aged lard that is sliced very thinly and added to a white pizza (no tomato sauce). It’s very delicate and flavorful! 


A pizza Romana is similar to a Napoli pizza but topped with capers, olives, anchovies and oregano. Like the Napoli, it’s very salty but very satisfying! I love this one. 


Vegetarian pizza in Italy, with eggplant, zucchini, and yellow cherry tomatoes.

The vegetariana pizza, meaning the vegetarian pizza, is a pizza margherita topped with cooked zucchini, eggplant and peppers. This pizza is best in the summer when these vegetables are fresh and local! 


Eggplant parmesan toppings on a pizza in Italy.

A margherita pizza topped with eggplant (hopefully it’s fried, which makes the absolute best kind) and a sprinkling of Parmigiano Reggiano. 


A boscaiolo pizza is made with the addition of sausage and truffles, either with or without pizza sauce. This is rich and very earthy, best enjoyed in the winter. 

Tonno E Cipolla

Your classic margherita pizza with the addition of tuna and thinly sliced onions. Note that this is going to be canned tuna packed in olive oil, not fresh tuna. Sounds a bit gross but it’s actually good. 


La Capricciosa is another one of those messy pizzas because of how loaded it is with authentic Italian pizza toppings. It’s a margherita topped with cooked ham, mushrooms, capers, olives, anchovies and oregano.


A margherita pizza with the addition of gorgonzola cheese. Sometimes you will see it also with pear or walnuts, depending on the season and region. 


Pizza in Italy with hot dogs on top.

A pizza con würstel is a margherita pizza with slices of hot dogs on it, mostly for kids. 


A pizza margherita with french fries on it! Crazy or what?!

I have to admit I was shocked when I saw Italians ordering this but they actually do sometimes. 


A calzone is a classic pizza made with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese, perhaps with other authentic Italian pizza toppings and then folded upon itself and sealed before being baked in the oven. 

Good To Know: An Italian calzone is not like an American-style one made with ricotta

Other Pizza Names You May See

zoomed in birds eye image of pizza calabrese topped with onions, olives and salami.

Because Italy is such a regional country, you may see names of pizza that have different meanings in different places. For example, the name pizza regina may mean topped with buffalo mozzarella and small cherry tomatoes in Southern Italy but may mean with gorgonzola and walnuts in Umbria. Don’t worry, there will always be a description under the pizza names which will describe what is on each pizza. 

Below is a list of pizza names that vary significantly in their meaning depending on the region and pizzeria:

  • Pizza Primavera – with vegetables OR shrimp
  • Pizza Regina – buffalo mozzarella OR gorgonzola and pear/walnuts
  • Pizzas Mediterranea – with scamorza AND/OR arugula, peppers and eggplant
  • Del Pizzaiolo – usually an in-house specialty
  • Pizza Estate – some combination of fresh ingredients, usually including arugula, fresh tomatoes, and prosciutto crudo.
  • Pizza Carbonara – with guanciale and Parmigiano (Rome)
  • Pizza Mortadella e Pistacchio – with mortadella and pistachios 
  • Scamorza e Speck – with scamorza cheese and speck cured meat (Northern Italy)
  • Positano – smoked provolone with fresh cherry tomatoes, mozzarella and basil (Southern Italy )

Good To Know: Keep your eyes out for a pizza of the day, known as pizza del giorno, which will often combine seasonal authentic Italian pizza toppings.

How Do They Do It? Read how Italians stay so svelte while eating pizza and pasta every day.

Other Authentic Italian Pizza Toppings

side view of pizza a taglio for sale in glass window.

Apart from ordering from the selected pizza menu at an Italian pizzeria, you can also choose to “make your own” pizza in Italy by asking for any combination of toppings you would like. 

Choose from any of the following toppings to add to already suggested pizzas or make your own by ordering your own pizza.

Authentic Italian Pizza ToppingPronunciationEnglish Translation
‘Ndujanndoy-yahSpicy soft sausage 
Mortadellamoh-tah-dehl-lahItalian bologna
Prosciutto Crudoproh-shoot-toh croo-dohItalian cured ham
Prosciutto Cottoproh-shoot-toh coht-tohItalian cooked ham
Gorgonzolagohr-gahn-zoh-lahgorgonzola cheese
Pomodorinipoh-moh-doh-ree-neecherry tomatoes

Authentic Italian Pizza Toppings You Won’t See

There are plenty of combinations and other pizza toppings that have made a name for themselves overseas but in terms of eating pizza in Italy, I can guarantee that you won’t find these pizza toppings or specific pizza names:

  • Canadian bacon
  • Hawaiian Pizza
  • Pineapple Pizza
  • Buffalo Chicken Pizza
  • Blue Cheese Pizza
  • Ranch Pizza
  • Chicken Pizza

How To Order Pizza In Italy

side view of a glass case of various rectangles of pizza lined up with white tags indicated price on top of each slice.

Ordering pizza in Italy at a restaurant is easy. Look for the pizza list at the back of the menu, usually listed on the last couple of pages. For our full guide to ordering pizza in Italy, read How To Order Pizza in Italy.

When your waiter comes, ask for the pizza of your choice by saying one of the following,

Vorrei una pizza margherita, per favore.
“I would like a pizza margherita, please.”

Io prendo una vegetariana, per piacere.
“I’ll have a vegetarian (pizza), please.”

Vorremmo una pizza ai 4 formaggi e una parmigiana, per favore.
“We would like one four cheese pizza and an eggplant (pizza), please.”

If you would like your pizza to go, you can call it in or you can order at the cashier desk and either wait for it there (usually about a 15-20 minute wait). Ask as indicated above but make sure you add da portare via to your order, which means “to-go”. 

Good To Know: Your pizza will not come pre-sliced in Italy. For tips on eating pizza in Italy, read A Visitor’s Guide To Eating In Italy – Italian Food Etiquette 101 (How To Order + My Tips) and Do Italians Eat Pizza With a Fork? and How Do Italians Eat Pizza?

Florence Travelers: Looking for the best pizza in the city? Read my first hand guide to Best Pizza in Florence, Italy – From a Local.
Venice Travelers: Check out my guide to the Best Pizza in Venice.

Free Italian Pizza Topping Printable Quick Guide

To print the PDF, click here or on the image. A new tab will open up with the PDF and you can print it.

Chart showing Italian pizzas and toppings, plus their pronunciations and English translations.