Top that! Italy snatches pizza title from Spain

Italian pizza makers have brought the title for the world’s longest pizza back to its true home having produced one that’s over a kilometre long.

Top that! Italy snatches pizza title from Spain
The record-breaking pizza was 1.229 kilometres long. Photo: IlMagodiOv

Pizza chefs worked for 16 hours in the Calabrian town of Rende over the weekend to produce the 1.229 kilometre pizza, smashing a record previously set by Spain, Il Quotidiano del Sud reported.

The pizza was cooked using a special oven with a roller inside; as the first part of the pizza baked, it was pulled out to rest on a table, while more of it was pulled through the oven.

A prudent panel of judges, made up of a solicitor, lawyer and quantity surveyor, were called upon to verify the length of the pizza, which snaked through the streets from Piazza San Carlo Borromeo to Piazza Matteotti, and ensure there was no cheating along the way.

An estimated 60,000 people were present, either volunteering to help create the pizza or to watch in fascination, and no doubt help eat the pizza once it was finished.

Photo: Gaetano Fabiano

But although a record has been clinched, the main aim of the event was to raise money towards a shuttle bus to help the disabled and elderly of Rende, in Cosenza province, get around.

The previous record of 1.141 kilometres was set in the Spanish town of Tomellaso, in the region of Castilla de La Mancha, in 2011. Over 100 chefs and helpers were involved in the process.

Italians also broke a record for the world’s largest pizza in 2012 – baking a 130ft wide Margherita.

The term 'pizza' was first recorded in a Latin manuscript from Gaeta, a town in central Italy, in the 10th century, while the modern pizza was invented in Naples.

The Neapolitan pizza was invented in the southern Italian city between 1715 and 1725, with the world-famous Margherita variant first cooked up in 1889.

Tradition has it that Queen Margherita of Savoy asked one of Naples' famed pizzaiole to come up with a dish for the people.

The result, which provides the basis for most pizzas enjoyed around the world, represented the colours of recently unified Italy: green basil, white mozzarella and red tomatoes.

The Neopolitan has been a safeguarded dish in the EU since 2009, while earlier this year the Italian National Commission for Unesco picked the Neapolitan pizza as its candidate for protection under Unesco's Intangible Cultural Heritage list.

By Louise Naudé

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Easyjet apologises for advertising southern Italian region’s ‘mafia activity and earthquakes’

Get a taste of real Italy by bunking down in mafia land, the ad said. But Easyjet's bid to pitch Calabria backfired, and the company was forced to apologise on Tuesday.

Easyjet apologises for advertising southern Italian region's 'mafia activity and earthquakes'
The seaside town of Tropea in Calabria. Photo: sea_and_sunset/Unsplash

“For an authentic taste of Italian life, there's nothing better than Calabria,” the Italian-language advert on the British airline's website said. “The region suffers from a distinct lack of tourists because of its history of mafia activity and earthquakes”.

Easyjet said the region in Italy's southern tip, famous for its coastline, rich history and culture, suffered from “the lack of iconic cities such as Rome and Venice capable of attracting the Instagram crowd”.


Italy's minister for the south Peppe Provenzano on Tuesday demanded Easyjet “apologise to Calabria and Italy”, with Calabrian senator Ernesto Magorno shouting: “Shame on you Easyjet! Calabria is a wonderful land with exceptional people.”

The region's head, Jole Santelli, slammed the “pseudo-marketing operation” as “aggressive, short-sighted and with a clear racist undercurrent”.

Easyjet apologised, saying it had only wanted to point out that Calabria was undervalued by foreign tourists, and would remove the offending advert as well as launching an internal investigation, Italian dailies said.

“Calabria is a very important land for us, which we love and have always promoted with numerous flights to Lamezia Terme,” it insisted.

While Calabria may not be as well known overseas as other parts of southern Italy, the region attracts a healthy number of Italian tourists each summer with its spectacular rocky coastline and hyper-blue waters.

It's also one of the best places in Italy to find traces of the Ancient Greeks who settled in southern Italy before the Roman Empire, including two priceless bronzes discovered by a local diver after centuries underwater and now housed at the impressive National Archaeological Museum of Reggio Calabria.

The Riace Bronzes on display in Reggio Calabria. Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP