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Once we knew we were going to have Italy as the last stop on our trip around the world, our minds started racing on all of the things we could do. We knew we wanted to go to Venice, Tuscany, Florence, and Rome, but there has always been a dream of ours to go see another less touristy part of Italy, Naples.
More than anything, this dream of going to Naples was about one thing, pizza. Growing up in Italian households in New Jersey, pizza has been a staple to both of our diets for our entire lives. When we’re desperate for comfort food, pizza has always been one of our go to choices. So going to the home of the “best pizza in the world”, where it all began, seemed like destiny for our Italy adventures.
How to Get to Naples:
At this point, we were in Rome without a car, so the only real option was to take the train. Italy has a fantastic train system, they have expensive fast trains–think Amtrak Acela trains–or regional slow trains. With this only being a day trip, we decided it was worth it to spring for the expensive fast train. The Frecciarossa train was even better than we imagined. There were many different times to choose from and it took only an hour to get from Rome to Naples. The trains are also in great condition and offer excellent views of the Italian countryside. *Note: this is not sponsored in any way, we just loved the train!
In terms of pizza crawling purposes, we took a 10:00 am train from Roma Termini to ensure we were in Naples before lunch. We arrived at Napoli Centrale just past 11:00 with our bellies growling for some pizza. We wanted to discover the best pizza in Naples Italy. Naples did not stand a chance.
Naples Italy Pizza Crawl
This was not simply going to be a one stop shop. When we’re visiting the most famous city in the world for pizza, we’re going to eat A LOT of pizza. We were determined to find the best pizza in Naples Italy. This city is home to some of the oldest pizzerias in the world, and we finally felt ready. We took a cab from the train station to the first pizzeria as it was a cold and rainy day. When doing our research, we knew what our first stop had to be.
L’Antica Pizzeria Da Michele may very well be the most famous pizzeria in the world. Famously seen in Eat, Pray, Love and other Hollywood films, this pizzeria screams history. We arrived at 11:30 a.m.. We were given a ticket to wait outside. Thankfully, we just beat the rush as we only had to wait 10-15 minutes, but the line was crazy by the time we left an hour later.
Walking inside this pizzeria felt like a walk into the 1900s. Simple, rustic, and perfect. We sat down and looked over the two choices on our menu, a pie with just sauce or a pie with cheese. We clearly got one of each and let the brick oven work its magic.
Both pies were uniquely different, with the sauce giving more Italian spices flavoring and the cheese one being the classic Neapolitan brick oven pie. We preferred the cheese one, but both of these may have already been the best pizza we ever had.
Crawling to the Pizza Street
No pizza crawl in Naples is complete without a trip to Via dei Tribunali. After our first stop, we walked over–it’s about a fifteen minute walk. A pizza lover’s paradise, this “pizza street” is littered with brick ovens and the smell of dough, sauce, and cheese.
We started our Pizza Street tour with a stop at Pizzeria Di Matteo. With a long line outside, we were intimidated and worried that we would not be able to get our precious pizza. Fortunately, we quickly learned, that this street is set up to take your pizza to go.
Portafoglio–translated to wallet in Italian–is the traditional way to take your pizza to go. The pizzeria will fold up your pizza into three or four layers and it makes it very easy to walk and eat. With this being brick oven pizza, this was a small round pizza and not a slice , so it was a little bit different than the traditional NY fold.
Di Matteo ended up being our favorite pizza we have ever eaten. The combination of sauce, dough, and just the single piece of mozzarella was pure perfection. We could not get enough of this and debated going back for more versus continuing our crawl.
Bittersweet Ending to the Best Pizza in Naples Italy
Our final stop was only a short walk from Di Matteo so we rolled our way down the cobblestone street. We finished with another portafoglio pizza from Pizzeria i Decumani. This was our least favorite of the day. It just did not compete flavor wise as our first two. Regardless, we do think we had the best pizza in Naples Italy on this day, so we were still happy.
With that all being said, Joe was not done eating–I feel like we say this a lot. We turned this pizza crawl into a sfogliatella crawl too! One of Joe’s favorite Italian desserts, Naples is famous for these. They are a crusty, orange zest, cream filled pastry of deliciousness. We stopped at Pasticceria Capparelli and were blown away with the flavors.
In typical MLT fashion, we ate one and then proceeded to order three more to take back with us. We were incredibly full, but also incredibly happy.
Back to Rome
We walked out of Via Dei Tribunali onto Via Duomo. We quickly got a cab there and made back to our 2:30 train back to Rome with plenty of time to spare. In our opinion, if you were doing a day trip, this was the perfect amount of time to be in Naples for pizza. We ate an incredible amount of food, and did not need to rush around.
Our only regret? We wish we stayed in Naples! It was such a unique city with a much more blue-collar feel, in a good way, than the rest of Italy. We wish we stayed and took the underground tour of the city–how cool is that! Also, this could be a great jumping off point to go to Mount Vesuvius, the Amalfi Coast and other parts of Southern Italy. Either way don’t skip Naples all together, it has more to offer than just pizza!