Would you judge me if I told you that I had three pizzas inside 24 hours in Naples? If your answer to that is yes (unless it’s “yes, I’ll judge you as a legend”), then this probably isn’t the blog for you.
I had three pizzas inside 24 hours in Naples. So did my good friend Anant. This is why he is my good friend.
Imagine going to Naples, the birthplace of the Neapolitan pizza, and not eating three pizzas in 24 hours. Two of which were Margherita pizzas, the undisputed king of all pizzas [caveat: unless you’re hungover, in which case stick as much shit on that pizza as possible. Personally, I like spicy beef, peppers and sweetcorn. Just don’t tell the Naples locals].
We started with Starita, which is a regular on all of the best places to eat pizza lists. You can see why, because this was great pizza. 10/10 pizza. The base, the tomato, the mozzarella, just the whole thing. And it was something stupidly cheap like €6. Also, make sure you start with some Angioletti Fritti, which is basically deep fried pasta with tomato and rocket, and is as delicious as that sounds.
We decided to walk off our late lunch with a wander around. The streets are interesting and beautiful. Scooters whizz past you on the cobbles, and kids play football on the streets. It is exactly what you expect from Italy, and doesn’t disappoint.
After a while we found ourselves down on the coast. A great place to sit, feet dangling in the water, with a beer from one of the little kiosks. There were locals swimming, and others fishing. Sitting there, it’s easy to forget that Naples is Italy’s second largest city (I think. I haven’t actually double checked this fact).
Although not conceived in the city, Naples has become a go-to for Aperol Spritz. It’s a very different vibe from the carefully constructed versions that I had in Modena last year, but it’s a lot of fun. The place to head to is Cammarota Spritz. A single € gets you a spritz, which you then drink in the street with the locals. It’s not fancy. It’s not the best spritz you’ll have in your life. It’s served in a shitty plastic cup. But it is a lot of fun.
Naples really comes alive at night. Whether you’re drinking spritz in a back street, or heading to one of the piazzas to drink beer until the early hours. We chose Piazza Bellini thanks to a highly scientific method of putting “lively naples” into google. All of the bars serve you bottles of beer to take across the street to the square, and as the night gets older, the crowds get bigger.
What makes Piazza Bellini so ideal is that it is just around the corner from Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba. It claims to be the oldest running pizza place in the world. That might be true, or it might be a lie. Either way, the pizza is, of course, fantastic. We got a Margherita to take away and eat in the square. I don’t want to guarantee that this will work every time, but we went just as the place was closing. Ordered a beer each to go alongside it, and as they’d run out of 330ml bottles, we got a 500ml each for the cost of the small version. Another highlight of the trip.
After sleeping off our hangovers in a tent (we stayed in an Airbnb that was a large tent in a garden, and brilliant. It included chickens, rabbits, a tortoise, ducks, and a very friendly cat, as well as amazing views, and outside kitchen and bathroom), we decided to have something other than pizza for breakfast. When not having pizza in Naples you have to be careful. Not because other food is bad, but because for everything you’re eating that isn’t a pizza, you’re not eating a pizza.
Sfogliatelle Attanasio is a must however. The sfogliatella served there is ridiculously good. Head around the queue, pay inside (they should really move the door), and get a number. Within minutes, after being asked if you want soft or crispy, you’ll be presented with a warm, sweet ricotta filled pastry. I went for soft, Anant went for crispy. Anant thinks he won. I think I won. I definitely won. It’s the perfect breakfast.
A few more beers, and we had time for one last pizza before jumping on the train back to Rome. Umberto proudly displays the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana badge on its window, signifying it is rated in the best 100 places in the world for Neapolitan pizza. To change things up a little, I went for aubergine and sausage this time. It probably does rank third on my list of three pizzas in 24 hours, but that is not a negative review. This was still a great pizza, and it isn’t really fair comparing a non-Margherita to a Margherita anyway.
So go to Naples. Eat three pizzas in 24 hours. It can be done. Just believe in yourself.