What Is Stromboli And How Is It Different From Calzone?

There is a variety of Italian foodstuffs that you can savor and enjoy. They all have different textures, tastes, and modes of preparations. Of course, many of these delicacies have amusing, tongue-twisting names, as I found during my last visit to Naples in 2015. I went to multiple pizza joints there and was really taken aback by the vastness of their cuisine.

It is wonderful and beguiling but you can also get confused and baffled, especially if a dish seems like a lot of other Italian delicacies. One good example of this is stromboli and calzone, which are always confused with one another. So how is stromboli different from calzone?

These questions intrigued me so I consulted a seasoned Italian chef to discover the truth and found the nuances of these delicacies quite uplifting. Here is a breakdown of what I discovered. 


What Is Stromboli?

Contrary to popular belief, stromboli originated in the United States way back in the fifties. It is a sandwich whose name is derived from an Italian movie made by Roberto Rossellini and starring Ingrid Bergman. It might not be the best blockbuster movie but it caused quite a storm at the time because of the alleged relationship that took place on the film set between Rossellini and Bergman.

Whether the scandal was true or not, it paved way for the birth of stromboli. Moving away from its theatrical roots, stromboli is a unique delicacy that is closely related to pizza but many feel it should instead be labeled as a sandwich. The matter, however, is still open to debate.

The main reason for this is that stromboli has a base made from pizza dough. In the past, stromboli makers used bread dough. But this soon changed when it was discovered that pizza dough gave it a better taste and texture.

Stromboli is usually stuffed with a lot of cheese and famous Italian meats, including salami and capicola. If you want to stay healthy you can opt for greener ingredients. Vegetables and herbs can also be used as a tasty filling.

After the desired ingredients are placed on the top of the pizza dough, roll the dough until it is like a loaf. Sometimes people fold the dough in half so that it looks like a rectangle. But most of the time, it looks like a jellyroll. Obviously, you can’t eat the delicacy yet. You have to first bake it in an oven to specific temperatures in order to create the optimal taste. Alternatively, you could deep-fry it.

The biggest difference between stromboli and calzone is the way that you apply the sauces. For stromboli, the sauce is stuffed inside during the preparation process. For calzone, it is usually served on its sides. I cannot say that they have different shapes, as calzone can be rolled and turned into a square.

What Is Calzone?

Since I have discussed stromboli, it is only appropriate that I should shed some light on calzone now, whose name means “stocking”. Of course, this is a reference to food and not to clothing. Unlike stromboli, calzone was created in Italy, specifically in Naples, where I have visited. It was first invented around the 18th century.

There are several folks out there who prefer to order calzone than buy a pizza slice. In Naples, or any of the nearby regions in Italy, pizzas are meant to be eaten with a fork and pizza knife. Therefore, this can be an issue for those who want to eat while they are on the go. On the other hand, calzone can be consumed on the move, and it is the same with stromboli.

Because of this, calzones tend to be more convenient than pizzas. Many Italian street vendors sell them because they are popular with both natives and tourists alike. If you have the chance to visit the city streets of Naples, you will see this delectable delicacy everywhere, as it is very widespread.

When it comes to the ingredients, a calzone closely resembles pizza. You can find mozzarella, tomato sauce, and ricotta inside this food, along with onions, peppers, and mushrooms.

Once all of these ingredients are already placed on the pizza dough, it is then folded. A calzone usually uses a circular shaped pizza dough as its base, so you fold it into a half moon shape. If you are not going to roll the dough, then you need to seal its edges so the ingredients cannot escape during the frying or baking process. You will know if your calzone is done as it develops a puffed appearance.

As I mentioned earlier, the sauce is not stuffed together with the ingredients. Instead, it is served after the cooking process, which is great because dipping calzone into a marinara sauce is like enjoying a sweet touch from heaven! 


Stromboli and calzone are both great dishes that induce the authentic Italian spirit. These delicacies taste so great a single serving is never enough. If master gourmets make them, then stromboli and calzone can open up a different world of flavors for you. Just one bite and you will indulge in something that you’ll love for a very long time.

If you paid attention to this entire article, you could say that stromboli is a type of sandwich/pizza with its roots in the United States. It contains different ingredients to pizzas, but uses pizza dough as its base. It can easily be confused with calzone because of its appearance, so it is best to check out the sauce that has been included. If it is nowhere to be found on the plate, then what you are eating is stromboli, but if there is marinara or pizza sauce present, then it is calzone.

But for me, it doesn’t matter if you opt for stromboli or calzone as both of them are extremely delicious! Was this article helpful? If you have anything to add about these two Italian delicacies, please share it with us in the comments section below!