On my third trip to Italy, probably my favourite country in Europe, I wanted to leave all the religious architecture behind and explore something new. That something would is the Amalfi Coast and my journey along this picturesque coast began in Naples.
Sitting comfortably in southern Italy, I’d say Naples is the less glamorous sister to Rome. But what it may lack in beauty, it makes up for in cuisine. Ohmygod I cannot say enough about the wonder that is the Neapolitan pizza! Just read on and you’ll see!
After a super early morning flight from London, we arrived in Naples groggy-eyed but ready to make the most of the day. We took the Naples Alibus Airport Shuttle (which cost a mere €4) that dropped us off at the main train station in Piazza Garibaldi. A fifteen minute walk later, we arrived at our hotel, Palazzo Caracciolo Napoli. A quick stop in our room and we set out to explore the streets of Naples.
We walked along the Centro Storico (Naples Historic Center) down winding alleyways and passing colourful houses.
The Centro Storico is located in the Old Town and boasts several cathedrals, archeological sites and structures.
Cute little corners with Greek and Roman accents made for the perfect photo opp!
The most unique (and I say unique because I’ve never seen anything like it) little sculptures and artefacts.
Italy is notorious for its Duomos (or cathedrals) and churches and Naples was no exception. In fact, along the Centro Storico, there is a whole street named Via Duomo filled with museums and churches.
Amid our stroll, we by chance (or by luck!) came across the Holy Grail of pizzas; L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele. Now when I say Holy Grail, I mean that locals, tourists and pizza fanatics (like me!) flock to this little hole in the wall for a taste of what is possibly the best pizza in the world. I know that is quite a statement to make but trust me on this one.
More amused than anything by the enormous queue outside the pizzeria, we obediently took our number, decided to continue on our stroll and an hour later came back to find that we had yet another hour wait before our turn. Now that is commitment!
We filtered in after finally being given the go ahead, stomachs rumbling in anticipation for ‘the best pizza in Naples’. In case you didn’t guess from the above, L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele was actually featured in the book, Eat Pray Love and made even more famous by a visit from Ms. Roberts here.
Towards the back you will find the masterpiece in progress. Basically a production line of men churning out one pizza after another, after another, after another!
Now there is only one pizza you order here (that’s because that is all they make), the Margherita with double buffalo mozzarella. My mouth is watering just typing these last few words!
Our pizzas arrived fresh from the oven, almost falling out of the plates that were far too small to contain all the deliciousness.
Sweet, juicy and thin is a napkin but not crispy, no, incredibly soft and doughy. I have never tasted anything quite like it! And that one tiny basil leaf in the middle giving the entire dish a hint of fragrance.
I’m afraid no pizza will ever taste the same again!
All that dough and mozzarella meant that we needed to continue on our stroll and walk off those additional calories. But not till we came across a gelateria (when in Italy, hey!).
We stopped by Il Chicco D’Oro where I managed to pick up the biggest gelato cone I’ve ever seen.
Off we went again, a few steps away we came across the Castel dell’Ovo or Egg Castle which gets its name from the Roman poet, Virgil, who had a reputation in medieval times of being a great sorcerer. According to legend, he put a magical egg into the foundations of the castle and if the egg was broken, the castle would have been destroyed and a series of disastrous events for Naples would have followed.
Next to the Castel dell’Ovo is the large public square, Piazza del Plebiscito. Located right by the gulf of Naples, it’s bounded on the east by the Royal Palace and on the west by the church of San Francesco di Paola.
And finally, our day ended overlooking the Gulf of Naples. A beautiful sunset by the seaside!
Exhausted from our early morning start and the full day we spent exploring Naples, we went back to our hotel thoroughly satisfied with our adventures. Let’s not forget our incredibly happy bellies!
A few more places to check out in Naples (which I didn’t manage to capture on film):
Gran Caffè Gambrinus – Located right next to Piazza del Plebiscito, this is a beautiful restaurant, gelateria and pastry shop serving the most beautiful sweets and treats. The waiters are dressed in white suits and the interiors are to die for!
- Gino Sorbillo – They say that there is a battle in Naples between Gino Sorbillo and L’Antica Pizzera da Michele for the best pizza! The public is torn between these two and having been to both (yes, I stood in another two-hour queue at dinner!), I honestly say that I can’t decide. Gino Sorbillo offers more toppings but the taste, flavour and cheesy-goodness is unbeatable at both.
It’s safe to say our entire day in Naples revolved around food! More coastal adventures to come in my next few posts.
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