FLORENCE, Italy – Let’s start with a little math. The first time the word pizza, otherwise known as God’s gift to Earth, was documented was in 997 AD in Gaeta, Italy. That means that pizza has been around for exactly 1,018 years according to record. And out of those 1,018 years, I have had only a precious 21 years savoring this heavenly dish. And out of my 21 years, I have consumed many pieces of pizza, but only one piece of pizza that changed my life. And that pizza was handcrafted and delivered promptly into my mouth exactly two hours ago.
When I say life-changing, I MEAN life-changing. In America, I have had many pizzas that I’m sure I probably said were life-changing. But pizza didn’t even arrive in America until the late 19th century. The Italians have taken their extra 900 years with pizza and done something that I had previously thought impossible: they perfected something that was already perfect.
We went to Gusta Pizza for dinner at the recommendation of several friends and the Internet. Gusta is located across the Arno River from the historic center of Florence, about a 20-minute walk from our apartment. At first, I grumbled about such a large distance to walk just for a slice of pizza. I wish I could go back in time and slap myself.
At the restaurant, I ordered a Gustapizza from Gusta Pizza because I’m basic and waited with high impatience. The aroma of mozzarella immediately announced the arrival of this little miracle, and the smell was just the appetizer. During the fleeting moments of my first bite of 100 percent real, authentic Italian pizza, everything was right in the world. The sauce was so fresh, it was like I was eating a tomato straight off the vine. And the cheese. Oh, the cheese. Lumps of mozzarella scattered across the surface mixed in perfect harmony with the sauce. Basically I saw through space and time. Now changed, I will never be able to eat regular pizza again.