Eating pizza in Naples
is was on my bucket list. I didn’t really know anything else about the Italian city beside the fact that it was the birthplace of pizza. And seeing how pizza is one of my absolute favorite foods, I salivated thinking I might one day get the chance to taste The Real Thing.
Turns out, Naples also has a reputation for being overrun with crime, trash and the Mafia. Over and over in my travels around Italy, people would look at me funny when I said I was going to Napoli. “For the pizza,” I would explain. Most people go through Naples (not to) on their way to a tour of the Amalfi Coast or Pompeii. But I wasn’t there for that.
I was there for the pizza.
Along the way, I discovered that there’s more to Naples than dirty streets and Italian thugs. They also have great shopping, beautiful old buildings, delicious pizza and pastries, plus a lovely waterfront overlooking the Bay of Naples. The views from the port are fantastic and there are some good restaurants in the area as well. I loved the image of a castle on the water as a backdrop to the city.
Photo Gallery: Images of Naples
click photos to make them bigger
Armed with a map of the city and a list of pizza places I wanted to try, I stumbled my way through the streets of Naples. I stayed at Hostel of the Sun, which was in a great location from which to explore the city. But still, I kept getting lost. The streets weren’t as easy to navigate as they were in Florence – Naples is bigger, I guess. The blocks are longer. Plus, I couldn’t get the thought out of my head that at any moment, someone was gonna mug me as I was walking back to my hostel at night. So…I ended up taking taxis to many of the places I wanted to go. And yep, many of the restaurants were CLOSED due to the long August European holiday tradition that keeps businesses closed until September. And yep, the taxi drivers in Naples ripped me off! They didn’t turn on the meter half the time and somehow, every trip ended up being EXACTLY 10 euro. Really?
Anyway, I achieved my goal, which is the only thing that matters. I ate pizza in Naples and now my life is complete. Here are the three places I went to and loved.
The margherita is the traditional pizza of Italy – made simple with a little tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella and basil. The crust gets fired up on a wood-burning oven and olive oil is drizzled across the top. I ordered it everywhere I went in Naples. It was great to compare the small variations of each restaurant. At Antonio e Antonio, I had it paired with a Peroni, the popular Italian beer. Their pizza was on the thicker side, quite chewy yet crusty in all the right places with a light, flavorful tomato sauce. Although it was in a touristy area, this turned out to be my favorite pizza of all the places I tried!
This pizza spot kept coming up as I was doing my internet research on “best pizza in Naples.” It was so very good and so very cheap. It was more like your neighborhood pizza joint than a real restaurant, which made the experience seem even more authentic. The margherita here was thin, chewy and had just enough salt from the cheese and olive oil to feel like you were eating something salty and greasy yet still good for you.
This was a pizzeria recommended on many of the travel forums and by a few taxi drivers as well. Presidente is located just down the street from Di Matteo and has the same neighborhood vibe. I went in for a late lunch (after 3pm) and the place was nearly empty. I was so happy to beat the line I had seen out the door the day before on my way to Di Matteo. Their margherita was thin and more on the charred side with gooey mozzarella that nearly covered the entire pizza.
I loved my pizza experiences in Naples. They were definitely worth getting lost in the city for!
From Naples, I took a plane to Barcelona, Spain for the last week of my European adventure. It was such a great place to end my trip because Barcelona turned out to be the quintessential European city – a mixture of Greek, Italian, French and Spanish influences. This city had it all. Plus, I got to meet a HBW reader to explore the city with!
Read my previous Travel Diaries:
- Travel Diary: My First Day in Greece and City Circus Hostel
- Travel Diary: Exploring Monastiraki, Plaka and Acropolis in Athens
- Travel Diary: Shopping in Athens, Sunset in Santorini
- Travel Diary: 7 Reasons Why I Fell in Love with Greece (Especially Santorini!)
- Travel Diary: How I Almost Got Arrested in the Santorini Airport
- Travel Diary: My First Three Days in Italy and Why I Didn’t Like Rome
- Travel Diary: 6 Memorable Experiences I Had in Florence, Italy
- Travel Diary: I Drank Wine in Tuscany
- Travel Diary: I Hiked the Cinque Terre in Italy (and Lived to Tell About It)