Why Your Pizza Pie Comes Unsliced When Dining In Italy

While there are many ways that authentic Italian pizza differs from American pizza, there's no denying that pizza is one of those universally loved foods no matter how you slice it. Actually, if you were to order it unsliced, you'd probably have a much better pizza-eating experience, according to Italians.

American pizza is always served sliced because convenience is king when it comes to fast food, which is how we classify pizza in the U.S. Whether it's a plain cheese pizza or one loaded with toppings, we think of pizza as a no-utensil and often a no-plate meal. In Italy, the only time you'd see a pizza carved into slices is if it were being sold as street food, known as "al taglio" pizza, which translates to "by the cut." You would very rarely find it presliced in a restaurant unless you're a child.

The major reason you'll be served unsliced pizza in Italy has to do with the Italian attitude towards pizza. When you order pizza in an Italian restaurant, it's not fast food to share when you're in a rush, it's an art form to enjoy as a carefully crafted and perfectly prepared meal. For the most part, Italians like their pizza served in full circular pies so they can cut each piece personally. Keeping it whole achieves a much more appealing look, and the pie doesn't cool off as quickly when it remains intact. 

Italian pizza is hot and saucy

Italian pizzas are smaller and are meant to be consumed by one person as a meal. The pie is brought to each customer whole so that they can decide how they'd like to consume it — with a knife and fork, or folded and eaten with the hands. If you choose the latter option, be careful not to burn yourself. Pizza in Italy is very juicy, with a molten center of sauce and melted high-moisture fresh mozzarella cheese. It's served immediately from a very very hot oven, and if you cut each bite as you eat it, you can prevent the sauce and toppings from sliding off the pie altogether. The crust on an Italian pie, particularly in the middle, is much thinner and not equal to the task of supporting all the sauce, melted cheese, and toppings. If the pizza was pre-sliced, the sauce and olive oil would seep into this thin crust before it even reached the table, ruining the perfect symphony of tastes and textures.

Italy is the birthplace of pizza, so it makes sense that Italians would cherish their pie-crafting traditions and give some side-eye if the process were changed too much. American pizza-style pizza like Domino's, with its dipping sauces and cheese-filled crust, is not welcome in Italy. In 2022, the American pizza chain was forced to close all its locations throughout the country because locals favored their artisanal pizza restaurants, where they will happily enjoy their pizza unsliced.