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A Neapolitan Pizza Marathon

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“When the stars make you drool just like a pasta fazool
That’s amore (That’s amore)
When you dance down the street with a cloud at your feet
You’re in love
When you walk in a dream but you know you’re not
Dreaming seniore
Scuzza me, but you see, back in old Napoli
That’s amore, (amore)
That’s amore” –Dean Martin

For Dean Martin, amore happens in Naples when “girl meets boy”. For me, amore happened when girl met pizza. Naples, Italy and delicious pizza are essentially synonymous. I mean, really, look it up in the dictionary: “Naples: home more delicious pizza than one could possibly eat on a holiday”.

My Trip To Naples (with lots of Neapolitan Pizza)

Sadly, dictionary, you are wrong. Reprint! In fact, on my two-day holiday in Naples I ate a full pizza (to myself!) at four (no that is not a typo) different pizza restaurants throughout the city. This is not counting the various stops for gelato and pizza-related snacks from around the city. In my defense, pizza in Naples is both incredibly delicious and very inexpensive. What more reason do you need?

Pizza da Michele

What Is The Vera Pizza Association?

When you visit Naples, you can quickly notice that many of the pizza restaurants feature a label outside that says “Vera Pizza Napoletana”. This means that the establishment follows the very specific rules to be able to offer you a true and original Vera Pizza Napoletana according to old Neapolitan pizza masters. This associated was established in 1984 as a response to the spread of fast-food chains and the overuse (and sometimes false advertising) of the phrase Original Neapolitan Pizza.

Vera Pizza sign in Naples.
Vera Pizza sign in Naples.

The association has very strict requirements, in terms of ingredients, preparation and method, which gave us the confirmation that we were eating the real original pizza pie. The rules are as follows:

  • It can only be cooked in a wood burning brick oven.
  • The crust has to be soft, elastic and easy to manipulate, prepared at least 10-15 hours ahead of time for plenty of time to rise.
  • The pizza maker needs at least 2 to 3 years experience before they are considered a “pizzaiolo” or pizza maker.

Where We Ate In Naples…

And now… drumroll please… the places we had the pleasure eating pizza at:

Pizza master at di Matteo.
Neapolitan Pizza maker at di Matteo.

Il Pizzaiolo del Presidente Via dei Tribunali, 120
Ristorante Fresco Via Partenope, 8
Di Matteo Via dei Tribunali, 94
L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele Via Cesare Sersale, 1/3

Pizza master at da Michele.
Margherita Pizza at da Michele.

All of these places absolutely live up to their reputation. We had to wait for over an hour to eat at da Michele, where they only offer two types of options to choose from: pizza margherita and pizza marinara. Even with out the “typical frills” you expect from a pizza place, it was absolutely delicious and would absolutely recommend going. We didn’t have to wait for the other three, which made the experience even better! Sadly, Sorbillo, another highly recommended place was closed for their summer holidays, so keep that in mind.

What Else Can You See In Naples?

The best part about Naples, besides the endless amount of delicious Neapolitan pizza of course, was being able to walk around the city relatively easily. The old city center features narrow passageways barely large enough for a car to pass (we nearly got run over a few times), lots of restaurants and cafes open to the street and just an all-around old world charm. It felt very original and non-touristy and definitely gave us a great impression of what life is like to live in Naples.

The new, modern waterfront area was a great complement to the busy city center. It was really picturesque, with views of Mt. Vesuvius off in the horizon. We spent a lot of time sitting by the waterfront, essentially just waiting till we were just hungry enough to go to another Neapolitan pizza restaurant, watching the locals swim in the bay, the fishermen selling the local catch, making friends with a nice Napolitano (ciao, Piedro!) and enjoying a cold Peroni.

Relaxing with view of Mt. Vesuvius.
Relaxing with view of Mt. Vesuvius.

Overall, Naples was one of my favorite cities and absolutely looking forward to going back.

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