The most basic pizza of all is pizza Bianca, which may be lubricated with olive oil and flavoured with garlic. Slightly more sophisticated and no less ancient, is pizza marinara, so called because sailors – marinai – could take the ingredients with them to sea. The ingredients for the topping were just tomato puree, garlic, olive oil and oregano. Had pizzaioli stuck to such inspired simplicity, all might have been fine, but they didn’t. In 1889 Queen Margherita of Savoy paid a visit to the city**, and the pizza Margherita, which combines tomato, mozzarella and basil leaves in imitation of the Italian flag, was invented in her honour and that has become the archetypal pizza, and the standard by which pizzas may be judged – and that is the problem.
From Eating Up Italy by Matthew Fort