The first time I saw a marinara pizza in Florence, I assumed the restaurant had made a mistake.

A pizza with no cheese seemed wrong, almost sinful. But after rereading the menu and seeing that the delicacy does in fact exist, I became intrigued. A pizza with no cheese allows for the often-understated players of a standard pizza to shine and for those who are lactose-intolerant or, although I struggle with you, those who do not like cheese, to enjoy an Italian classic.

While the trend has not hit the U.S. yet, marinara pizzas are nothing new in Italy. Created in Naples, marinara pizza is similar to a typical margarita pizza but without the cheese. It passes on the cheese in order to highlight the tomato sauce, oregano, garlic, and olive oil.

The term marinara stems from the Italian word, “marinaro” or seafaring. Sailors in Naples, a port town, needed food that would last long journeys without spoiling. Hence, the marinara pizza was created. No meat, no cheese, just pita bread with a hearty tomato sauce.

While many view margherita pizza (marinara with cheese) as the original and typical Neapolitan pizza, it was actually created afterwards. The fresh mozzarella cheese was added to make the pizza the colors of the Italian flag (when basil is added, of course.)

Because of its simplicity, marinara pizza is often cheaper than its fancier counterparts. A full size often goes for only about 5 euro and can be found in most pizzerias.
  Looking to try this less popular and often misunderstood Italian delicacy during your time in Florence? Try one of these places:

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Gusta Pizza
Via Maggio, 46R, 50125, Florence, Italy

Costing only 4,50 euro, Gusta Pizza is located near Piazza Santo Spirito and is often frequented by students. Ask them to make your pizza in a heart shape to make it a little more original.

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Il Pizzaiuolo
Via de’ Macci 113/r, Florence, Italy

Il Pizzaiuolo is located in the busy and energetic San Croce area. I recommend making a reservation before going.

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Pizzeria O’Vesuvio
Via dei Cimatori, 21r, Florence, Italy

Looking to add a funny story to your experience? This pizza place is where the cast of Jersey Shore worked when they were in Florence. The quality of the show does not detract from the quality of the pizza though!

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Da Gherardo
Borgo San Frediano 57R, Florence, Italy

This pizzeria serves some of the most authentic and delicious pizza in Florence. Its warm and rustic feel will make you feel right at home on a chilly Florentine day.

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Article written by Grace Kramer

I’m a student from the University of Minnesota studying in Florence for the semester. I’m a junior studying Strategic Communications and Cinema and Media Culture.

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