Naples Pt. 3 – PIZZA PIZZA PIZZA…..AND MORE PIZZA!

Brandi Pizzeria Naples Italy

Mind you, that was NOT the pizza we ate.  I am sure that one was good too, though.

Our main quest in Napoli, was to eat pizza.  Yes, I know it’s a shallow quest, not like searching for the Holy Grail, but it was OUR Holy Grail!!!

Our first day we wanted to go to Gino Sorbillo, which had been recommended to us by the hotel.  After wandering aimlessly up and down the street (passing it a few times, mind you, and this was something of a recurrence on our trip) we finally found it, super excited because we had been told it was THE BEST pizza in Naples.  It was closed.  For two weeks.  Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!  No problem, there are about 75,000 pizza places in Napoli.

Our next stop, either Da Michele or Di Matteo.  We had read about both in the guide-book, but we chose Di Matteo because of proximity.  Honestly, we walked right past this place and had not the guy at the door showed us where to go in, we would have missed it.  A very small and unassuming place, no frills, no fuss.  Just paper napkins, plastic cups and a fork and knife.  I wanted to try the original, the Margherita, to have a base on what to make my further decisions on.  But, I couldn’t help ordering it with Bufala mozzarella.  Paolo chose to have the 4 Stagioni, with black olives, artichokes, ham and mushrooms.  Normal mozzarella too.

Pizzeria Di Matteo

Bufala mozzarella Margherita

 

Pizzeria Di Matteo

4 Stagioni Pizza

 

Oh, my, God.  What a pizza!  This is not your crispy- crust- like- the- rest- of- Italy- Pizza.  This is the original, soft, chewy dough, fluffier crust.  You can like it better or not, but either way, this is the real deal.  The tomato sauce was to die for, and needless to say, my Bufala mozzarella was just sublime.  And at 4 euros……I think that is a steal!   This was definitely a contender, a pizza to mark all other pizza’s we had by.  My score: 9 out of 10

The next pizza, was only had by Paolo.  That was my, I’m going to be good day.  (Mind you it only lasted a day.)  We went close to our hotel, to a place called O’Munaciello.  There, Paolo decided he wanted to have the Alla Diavola, which had a spicy pepperoni on it.

 

Ristorante O'Munaciello

Diavola Pizza

 

This was good, but by no means the best.  The crust was slightly thicker and puffier.  It really reminded me of American pizza’s, in that sense.  It was good, but as you can see, the cheese was kind of plopped in the middle, and the pepperoni was a bit dry after being in the oven.  I would give it a 6 out of 10.

Our next pizza venture was at a place called Matozzi.   Not to be confused with Matozzi Ristorante Europa, which apparently is very expensive, this was on a small square on Via Toledo.  We sat outside, and ordered our pizza’s, Paolo choosing now the Bufala mozzarella with cherry tomatoes, and I chose the 4 Stagioni.  Ok, so the problems started really early in this place.  Paolo received his pizza and beer in like 5 minutes, and I was still waiting for my water.  We asked the waiter several times, but he kept on blaming the pizzaiolo, which also turned out to be the owner of the restaurant.  So, they finally brought my water out five minutes later, but they had forgotten to make my pizza.  You know those cartoons when steam is coming out of someone’s ears?  Well, that is me when I am hungry.  And I was VERY hungry.  But I played it cool.   So I finally got my pizza, but Paolo was done with his.  So much for eating together.

Ristorante Pizzeria Matozzi Via Toledo

Bufala and Cherry Tomato Pizza

 

Ristorante Pizzeria Matozzi Via Toledo

4 Stagioni

 

The pizza was good.  But not my favorite, by far.  The ham was great, it had a wonderful smoky flavor, but there wasn’t enough cheese, and too much crust.  And since I think they forgot about it in the oven again, it was a bit burnt.  So, for that, 5 out of 10.

Our last night there, a taxi driver asked us if we had eaten pizza, and we started to list off all the places where we had been.  He said to us, that we couldn’t leave without trying Pizzeria Brandi, which is the birthplace of the Pizza Margherita, 150 years ago.  Well….obviously we didn’t want to miss that!

The next day, off we went, not really expecting too much.  I mean, a pizza is a pizza is a pizza.  Whoa Nelly.  We were so wrong.  Ok, the place already was great.  Real tablecloths.  AIR CONDITIONING.  Oh, yeah, a singer too.  The pizza’s were slightly more expensive, the basic ones starting out at 7 euros, but that is still darn cheap in my book.  So Paolo and I ordered a variation on one of our favorite Pizza’s, that is the Rucola and Prosciutto.  The difference was, his had cherry tomatoes, mine had bufala mozzarella.  So, we get our pizza’s, take the first bite………….

Pizzeria Brandi Naples Italy

 

Pizzeria Brandi Naples Italy

 

We both looked up at each other and made all sorts of silly faces, those that you do when your mouth is full and you know you are tasting the most amazing thing.  HOLY. COW.  THIS IS PIZZA.  THIS IS PIZZA HEAVEN.  PIZZA PERFECTION.  PIZZA….ok, ok, you get the point.  10 out of 10.  (just had to add that in)

You ABSOLUTELY MUST HAVE TO GOTTA BETTER get yourself to Pizzeria Brandi on Via Chiaia in Naples.  If you don’t, your trip will be wasted.  Ok, maybe you aren’t a pizza nut like us and you came here for the art.  But, if you remotely like pizza…..YOU MUST COME HERE!!!!!  I wish I could teletransport myself there now.  The first picture is the both of us congratulating the Pizzaiolo.  They were so pleased that some waiters and staff got into the picture too.

So, that is our quest for pizza.  And we found it.  THE HOLY GRAIL OF PIZZAS.

Tomorrow my friends, I am hopping on a plane, destination…..Miami, my birthplace!  So, I will be posting some local delicacies from there!

See you on the other side of the Atlantic!

Carla

 

 

Naples and The Amalfi Coast Pt. 1

Napoli, Historic City Center, Campania, Italy, Streets

La Bella Napoli

Napoli.  What can I say?  A city full of contradictions.  A true diamond in the rough.  Behind every scruffy door, lies a sparkling interior.  A city with hundreds of years of history, all layered on top of each other, like a rickety tower of Jenga.  It is a mystery, and we barely scratched the surface.

Naples, Italy, Historic City Center

Flanked by the bounty of the Gulf, and the destructiveness of Vesuvius, it is a city that has a weathered, hardened appearance, that is visible on the locals faces.  Fiercely proud of their heritage, Neapolitans welcome you but they also take advantage of you.  I guess it is just second nature, being that it has been settled, conquered, pillaged, brought down yet somehow, it still manages to survive.  To stay strong.  And to stay true to their nature, whatever it may be.

Naples, Campania, Italy, Vesuvius, Lungomare

Lungomare with Vesuvius in the background

Napoli is a city that begs you to discover it.  We, obviously tried, but it will take many, many trips to truly get down to its true heart and soul.  After having said that, I think we did a pretty good job of traipsing around as much as we could with our limited time.  In 5 full days, we ate our way through Campania, ferried to Capri, miraculously survived driving out of the city and the “Blue Ribbon Drive” to Positano, and transported ourselves 1,933 years to witness the tragic glory of Pompeii.  Not bad for a 5 day sojourn, huh?

Our first day was dedicated to seeing the sights in the city, since our flight landed at 7:30 am, and we arrived at the hotel an hour later, and our room would not be ready until 12.  Tired and bleary eyed, we did our best to walk the streets and take in all the sights.  It was shocking, at best, and sometimes downright nerve-racking.  A total chaos of vendors, scooters packed with people whizzing in between us, tourists, kids playing ball, it was all too much to take in that early morning!  But throughout our trip we became experts at crossing roads, managing the chaos of the streets, and even driving.

Naples, Napoli, Campania, Italy, City CenterOn our second day, we escaped the heat of the city and took a ferry to Capri.  Oh wow.  I have no words for how beautiful this little island is.  It is a rocky, flower filled, spectacular little outpost in the Gulf of Naples.  Meandering through the tiny streets of Capri Town, I felt immediately overwhelmed by its natural beauty.  Impossible cliffs rising out of the azure waters, houses perched on teeny ledges, and flowers flowers flowers everywhere!  We wanted to see the Faraglioni, and ended up having lunch at a hotel, and then sneaking into their pool!

Capri, Italy

Capri, Shopping, Italy

Crowded streets in Capri Town

 

Capri, Italy, Faraglioni

Capri, Italy, Hotels

Capri, Italy, Flowers

Capri, Italy, Hotel Punta Tragara

Hotel Punta Tragara Swimming Pool

 

Capri, Italy

The third day, we needed to escape from the heat, again.  When I said Pamplona was hot, I didn’t know what hot really was.  This was 2 steps closer to hell!  I have never sweat so much in my entire life, and we needlessly parked way up in Positano, and had to take about a million stairs to get down to the beach.  I wasn’t happy until we were in the water, where we languidly dreamed of a swim up bar in the middle of the ocean.  The jet set on their yachts sure know what they are doing, let me tell you.  But we had a wonderful day nonetheless!

Sorrento, Amalfi Coast, Italy

Sorrento, Amalfi Coast

Lemons, Sorrento, Amalfi Coast, Italy

Now THAT is a lemon!

 

Vendor, Amalfi Coast, Italy

Granita and Chilli Pepper Vendor on the street

 

Positano, Amalfi Coast, Italy

Positano

Positano, Amalfi Coast, Italy

Positano, Beach, Amalfi Coast, Italy

Beach time in Positano

Our second to last day, we decided to go to Pompeii.  How amazing.  How vast.  How HOT.  Again.  But it was just so amazing being able to walk these streets that have remained intact for almost 2000 years.  If you can get to Naples, you must visit Pompeii.

Pompeii, Campania, Italy, Vesuvius

Pompeii, Medusa, Frescoes, Italy, Campania

A fresco of Medusa in the House Of Meneandro

Pompeii, Italy, Campania

The inner garden of the House of Meneandro

Pompeii, Campania, Italy

Villa of Mysteries, Villa dei Misteri, Affreschi, Frescoes, Pompeii, Italy, Campania

One of the well-preserved frescoes in the Villa of Mysteries

Vesuviues, Pompeii, Campania, Italy

Vesuvius

Tomorrow, I will post about our top food moments……and I have decided to dedicate a complete post to our quest for the perfect Pizza….we had a REALLY good time doing that!

I hope that my pictures can transmit to you the wonder that is Napoli and the Amalfi Coast.  Amazing 5 days!

Carla