Connoisseur's Guide


The incredible taste travels of Sirmais

Feta, frappe and the cult of Greek foodCitrus scent and erotic vanilla Culinary Babel of BrusselsFour Legendary Pizzerias in NaplesMatera - the ancient city of caves« BACK « TO BEGINNING


Add your e-mail address to receive our monthly news.


Jewellery by Artists: From Picasso to Koons, an exhibition organised by the culture and art portal

Connoisseur's Guide · Europe · italy · Naples · The incredible taste travels of Sirmais

Four Legendary Pizzerias in Naples

Author: Ilze Lasmane-Brože0 COMMENTS

Four Legendary Pizzerias in Naples

They say that Naples is the most crime-ridden Italian city with about 30% of its population "boasting" criminal past of some sort or another. Moreover, Italy's notorious Camorra clan has been based there since time immemorial. As we didn't adorn ourselves with golden jewelry or pricey watches, no crooks were caught breathing down our necks either, however. By "we" I mean a film crew of Latvian TV show "Sirmais. Cult Food". Despite any crime stories, we can sincerely affirm that Naples is a very enjoyable place to visit, possessing an air of a charming movie that you would be very willing to step into.

Foto: Four Legendary Pizzerias in NaplesFoto: Four Legendary Pizzerias in NaplesFoto: Four Legendary Pizzerias in Naples

People are very joyful and helpful there. Sometimes, with the best of intention but lacking proper information, they would talk your ear off without providing any useful advice, however, especially when asked about hotels and their whereabouts. Finding a hotel in Naples can indeed prove to be challenging, especially at night! It may require circling round and round the block, searching for a hotel in which your booking is made. Finally, a tiny signboard emerges from behind bushes and branches, right where you have passed by several times already. And that is not all yet! Inside, you are met by someone named Giuseppe, who sends you to someone else named Marion, who, in her turn, phones to notify still another person about your arrival, and only then the door of your room gets unlocked!

Foto: Four Legendary Pizzerias in NaplesFoto: Four Legendary Pizzerias in NaplesFoto: Four Legendary Pizzerias in Naples

Naples is a perfect place for savoring the true taste of Italian lifestyle, especially appealing for younger generation. More often than not, a small nearby city square is wrapped in marijuana smoke, especially at night. Some yelling and laughter are coming from inside, and empty coke cans are piling up in garbage bins... Such a jovial spirit is kept alive mainly by university students. Yet we noticed that not only young people are lavishly enjoying themselves in Naples. Certain southern wildness and passion for life is sizzling in the air, and people definitely possess the art of living in the moment.

Foto: Four Legendary Pizzerias in NaplesFoto: Four Legendary Pizzerias in Naples

Locals are ardent football fans, too, which is yet another manifestation of their overflowing enthusiasm. Napoli football fans are among the world's craziest, so beware revealing in their presence that you are a supporter of another football club - you may get punched, and I really mean it!

Foto: Four Legendary Pizzerias in NaplesFoto: Four Legendary Pizzerias in NaplesFoto: Four Legendary Pizzerias in Naples

Somewhat less happy go lucky and perky are poor areas of Naples - the Spanish Quarter (Quartieri Spagnoli), a costal suburb of San Giovanni a Teduccio and Scampìa, in northern Naples and Pavareto. Crime levels are kept up by thefts of moped gangs there. Despite of everything, the Spanish Quarter offers great routes for exciting walking tours. This part of the city was created in the 16th century to house Spanish garrisons, but nowadays has turned into a tangle of small and crooked streets, secret passages and odd little nooks. It takes knowledge to find your way around there, especially if you wish to find some particular places, for example, the most famous Naples's pizzerias.

Foto: Four Legendary Pizzerias in NaplesFoto: Four Legendary Pizzerias in Naples

Yet that was the very reason why "Sirmais. Cult Food" arrived there in the first place! Before focusing on the unique phenomenon of Neapolitan cuisine, namely, pizza, let us mention few other noteworthy elements of modern cult gastronomy that have originated there on the banks of the Gulf of Naples. First of all, espresso coffee. There is even a belief that an espresso machine was invented in Naples! Secondly, Naples boasts to be the birthplace of the famous Limoncello liqueur. It is not surprising, viewing scenery with fabulous orange and lemon groves around the city. Another specialty of this area is tomatoes, grown in the volcanic ash of Mt. Vesuvius. Exactly such tomatoes are a crucial ingredient of an authentic Italian pizza.
Initially, in the 16th century Naples a galette flat bread or pizza was a dish of the poor and was sold in the streets. Gradually it was recognized as an exotic and attractive dish, firstly by travelers, and then pizza bakeries began to thrive. A truly royal triumph of pizza was achieved in the end of the 19th century, when for the visit of King Umberto I and Queen Margherita of Savoy it was ordered to bake a pizza suggesting the colors of the Italian flag. In the honor of the queen, it was named Pizza Margherita and its main ingredients were basil leaves (green), mozzarella cheese (white), and tomatoes (red). The legendary pizzeria that produced the very first Pizza Margherita is still operating in Naples under the name Pizzeria Brandi (Salita S. Anna di Palazzo, 1-2,
In those days when Pizza Margarita was invented and gained its popularity, a set of strict rules was developed, which had to be observed to make an authentic Neapolitan pizza. They provided that a pizza must be baked in a wood-fired oven, using oak tree for heat and olive tree for aroma, at 300°C for no more than a minute and a half. The dough has to be made using natural spring water, flour of certain origin, fresh tomatoes grown in volcanic ash of Vesuvius, extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and Mozarella. All these requirements are mandatory for an authentic Naples pizza.
Foto: Four Legendary Pizzerias in NaplesFoto: Four Legendary Pizzerias in Naples
In search for the best pizzeria in the city, our crew came across four noteworthy addresses, one of them is Da Michele (via Sersale, 13, Queuing up is definitely worthwhile there as it results in a truly outstanding pizza on your plate! There are only two options to choose from - pizza Margherita and pizza Marinara. Pizzeria Da Michele itself is a tiny and absolutely unpretentious little place - always crowded, but boasting great atmosphere. Its elderly yet charming wait staff is always cheerful and joking nonstop, while happy, never-fading smiles are lighting faces of those, who have queued up finally managed to get in. You don't need much to be happy, in fact - it's just enough to get in there!
Pizzas are not precisely round there, but it doesn't matter. Da Michele pizza is a true gourmet marvel, created on the spot within few minutes and is incredibly delicious. We also heard a very apt, citation worth piece of reasoning there: "If you have come to Italy in search of the best pizza, you may as well go home!" Beyond any doubt, it means that you have found it!

Foto: Four Legendary Pizzerias in Naples

Pizzeria Il Pizzaiolo del Presidente (via Tribunali, 120/121), in its turn, is all about an amazing art of marketing of Italians. After Bill Clinton, then president of the USA, visited this famous pizzeria in 1994, it was immediately renamed to "The President's Pizzeria". They adorned the place with American symbols and with Bill's pictures not only on walls but on napkins, too. Pizza perhaps is not the most outstanding, but you'll get a grin on your face anyway.

Pizzeria Sorbillo (via Tribunali, 32,, despite being listed by Michelin Guide, continues shamelessly to treat its guests from plastic dishes. A particularly warm welcome and a truly superb pizza somewhat makes up for it, however. Such modesty, after all, might be intended to emphasize the value of the food itself and the efforts invested in making a delicious treat like Sorbillo pizzas.

Foto: Four Legendary Pizzerias in NaplesFoto: Four Legendary Pizzerias in Naples

Always crowded pizzeria Di Matteo (via Tribunali, 94) is a place where in the '30s, under the owner's guidance, pizzas were backed by children, usually poor kids not going to school and hanging out in the streets. People often drop by there to grab a takeaway pizza or buy some dough to make their own pizza at home. You will find also the traditional Neapolitan Pizza Fritta. This abundantly stuffed pizza, filled with everything you can only imagine, is deep-fried, immersing it in hot oil.

Foto: Four Legendary Pizzerias in Naples

There is yet another thing not to be missed after a good meal at Di Matteo, which refers to male guests of the pizzeria. A visit of an authentic barbershop is among the must-do experiences of every man, I think, and here is a good chance for it - just across the street! It's quite a performance, too, to observe the barber's deft hand movements, working with a sharp razor, shaving foam, towel and numerous small combs. Furthermore, the entire delightful and amusing procedure, lasting for a wuarter of hour, costs only 5 Euros.

The 'Sirmais: Cult Dishes' programme is produced with the financial support of the RIMI retail chain and the European Commission Representation in Latvia at the Mistrus Media film studio.

The Italian episode was produced with the support of the team of the Lucania Film Festival ( Produced by Ilze Lasmane-Brože (GSM: 00 371 29104652; e-mail:

Photos: Epatastudio

Facebook Twitter


Your comments

Unfortunately there are no comments yet.

Your name:

Time of visit:

Your comment: