The City of Pizza and Squalor

I was told that people generally had two reactions to Naples – they either hated it or they loved it. Unfortunately, I was very much the former. Don’t get me wrong, I can certainly understand and see why people would love it. It’s gritty and real and in your face in a way that Rome was not. However, my first experience of Naples went like this:

I step out of Stazione di Napoli, or Naples’ Central station. Clutched in my hand is a slightly crumpled map to Hostel Mancini, located across Piazza Garibaldi. As I walk down the main road connecting Naples’ Central station to Garibaldi Square, catcalls and hoots ring out after me. Yes, there was no escaping it – I felt harassed as I made my way to my hostel. Pungent scents wafted off the heated surface of the pavement and I play a little game where I try to wheel my bag along the road while avoiding cars that go zipping by at (sometimes) dangerous speeds. I am not a fan. 

I stayed in Naples for 2 days. I ate some pizza. I left.

Streets of Napoli

Streets of Napoli outside Hostel Mancini

At Da Michele, Napoli

At Da Michele, Napoli

This is the famous pizzeria featured in Eat, Pray, Love. Da Michele is a family run pizzeria. As I walk in, the fragrant scent of baked bread and tomato surrounds me. The place is crowded, families sitting and happiness is the flavour of the day. I was amazed by the cost of a pizza here – 4€ for a pizza!

Pizza Margherita from Da Michele

Pizza Margherita from Da Michele

I ordered a Pizza Margherita – the picture above shows the basil, fresh tomato sauce baked into the mozzarella and the dripping olive oil. My first bite was heavenly – the chewy dough combined with the crisp crust and tanginess of the sauce. I’m not a huge pizza fan (still am not), but I had to admit this was pretty amazing.

Abel, Jon & I

Abel, Jon & I

Abel and Jon got bored in Rome and came down to visit me in Naples. After they foretold all the possible disasters that awaited me if I stayed on in my hostel (they’re pretty gloom and doom), we decided to grab dinner and head back to Rome for another day.

Panorama of Naples

Panorama of Naples

So, Naples is sandwiched between the coast and the mountains. There you go.

La Notizia Pizzaria

La Notizia Pizzaria

Pizza Napoletana from La Notizia

Pizza Napoletana from La Notizia

For dinner, we headed to La Notizia. I would say that Da Michele had better pizza than La Notizia, but that could possibly be because we stuffed ourselves way past full in La Notizia- once I pass a certain level of fullness, food just tastes bad to me. :p Oh well, thank you Naples for the food!