EXPERIENCE NAPLES — THE HOME OF PIZZA
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For die-hard pizza aficionados, a trip to Naples is akin to visiting one of the world wonders. Yes, Naples pizza is that good. When you visit the birthplace of any food, you’re bound to be in for an experience like none other — and Naples delivers.
Origins of Neapolitan Pizza
This international food phenomenon has humble European roots. It’s believed that pizza dates back to perhaps the 17th or 18th century, when hungry Neapolitan peasants began topping their flatbreads with tomatoes to create an inexpensive meal. Word slowly spread, so that by the 19th century, visitors to Naples were seeking out the poorest Italian neighborhoods to sample this delicious dish.
Pizza really hit it big in 1889, when King Umberto I and his wife Queen Margherita di Savoia visited Naples while on holiday. The Queen had heard of this culinary delight during her travels, so she ordered local pizzaiolo (pizza maker) Raffaele Esposito to bake a selection for a royal tasting. Of the pizzas Esposito presented, the Queen favored his simple creation topped with mozzarella, basil, and tomatoes (the colors of the Italian flag). From then on it was known as the pizza Margherita — known today as the classic Neapolitan pizza and a worldwide favorite.
What Makes Naples Pizza Special?
Naples pizza is pure simplicity in its ingredients and execution. Since there’s so little to it, the quality and freshness of the ingredients, along with the devotion of the pizzaiolo, is what really makes this style of pizza shine. There are actually two types, the aforementioned Margherita and the pizza Marinara, which doesn’t contain cheese. The Marinara is topped with tomato, garlic, oregano, and extra-virgin olive oil. The crust of both is typically soft and thin and is made with highly refined wheat flour, fresh brewer’s yeast, water, and salt. A Naples pizza is heavy on the sauce, making it soggy in the middle and difficult to slice. Because of this, the pizzas are usually quite small (10–12 inches) so that they are more manageable to eat.
Best Naples Pizza :
- Antica Pizzeria Port'Alba (Via Port’Alba 18, Naples): The oldest pizzeria in Naples (and likely the oldest in the world), this restaurant began making pizza in 1738! It’s an unassuming place wedged between used bookstores, so it can be easy to miss. Highlights here are their crust — a golden brown affair that is slightly thicker than most other Neapolitan pizzas and their ovens, purported to be lined with lava rocks from Mt. Vesuvius.
- Pizzaria La Notizia 53 (Via Michelangelo Da Caravaggio 53A, Naples): Blending a genuine love for the art of pizza-making with a home-like atmosphere, Pizzaria La Notizia 53 makes all of its guests feel like family. The pizza is worth the journey out to the Vomero neighborhood.
- 50 Kalò (Piazza Sannazzaro 201/B, Naples): Don’t let the long lines scare you away from some of the best Naples pizza — there’s a reason why even locals wait for the pizza here. Pizzaiolo Ciro Salvo uses only the freshest ingredients as well as organic extra-virgin olive oil in his creations.
- Sorbillo (Via dei Tribunali 32, Naples): Here you’ll be in the care of celebrity pizzaiolo Gino Sorbillo. Located in the city center, Sorbillo serves up a larger version of the Neapolitan classic with a thin crust and a variety of toppings.
Learn more about Naples, the home of pizza, on a cruise to Europe with Holland America Line. Even though pizza is a major highlight, it’s far from the only thing Naples has to offer. Explore these Naples and Pompeii shore excursions to see things to do in the town.