Alighieri’s statue at Piazza Dante
Naples would be one of the city that surprised me…and not positively. Compared to the other European cities we’ve been to, it is quite unsightly – but, maybe because it is quite an old city, aged to experience and history. It has a busy urban landscape feel and you might feel unsafe as you walk by but no, we didn’t encounter anything untoward (gott sei dank!) during our stay.
Apart from wanting to see Dante Alighieri’s statue at the plaza named after him (pictured above), hubby made clear his intent to eat pizza from where it originally came from – that is, Naples. So, any pizzeria, the establishment that makes and sell pizza would do, I presume. It was unknown to us then that Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba, the pizzeria widely believed to be the very first one was just a few steps away from the plaza. 🙁 (I truly regret not having researched before this trip…blame my excuse of too much blogging.)
So walk we did, as we reminisce how very familiar the surrounding ought to be. It was like walking the old roads of Quiapo. Dust clinging on to walls, clothes hanging out to dry, old buildings with peeled paints and lots of people walking around and waiting for vehicles – well buses, not jeepneys. It was all too familiar, like walking there was something I had done so many times – to buy rolls of film or just take photos of Manila life, only…I was sure we were still in Europe.
The walking was a good idea as we were getting tired and hungry, teehee! We ended up at this bright red building, the Naples National Archeological Museum. Since it was getting late already, the museum has been closed – unfortunately so we decided to look for a place to eat instead to fulfill hubby’s goal.
We didn’t walk far to find a pizzeria, they actually abound like lined palm trees on Santa Monica’s Palisades Park. The first one at the corner street was rather inviting. Scroll down please to see my chunk of reality: a table setup outside the establishment, the windows and the lights coming from the pizzeria spelled cozy. It’s sign read Ristorante Pizzeria F. Aiello, just across the Museo Archeologico Nazionale.
So in we go, the traditional stove can be seen from the entrance along with various ingredients and from there, you’d be assured that everything would be served fresh. We were served an antipasto of crunchy tiny fish reminiscent of our dilis (anchovy) or it might actually be anchovy mixed with some others. (The menu was in Italian). This dish was served with lemon and pepper and having finished half, I already felt full.
Expectedly (or not), their serving variety is of Neapolitan. That’s a special blend of wheat flour, natural Neapolitan yeast or brewer’s yeast, sea salt and water kneaded accordingly and baked on a definite length of time and degree in an oak-wood oven to achieve that thin, crispy but tender bite. It is typically topped with San Marzano tomatoes harvested near Mt. Vesuvius and mozzarella cheese from a particular type of buffalo raised in the Campania region (Naples is Campania’s capital).
From this base, other variants can be made and there are only three listed official variations to it. What we had were two same variants. (Blame my lack of interest to learn Italian, I didn’t learn it before the trip,tsk!) We had wanted something different but, the server might have understood otherwise, teehee. I am not sure about the other accepted variants of the Italian food association but what we had was topped with toasted eggplant along with other veggies. It was right on the bat crunchy, thin and tasty.
Mind you, they serve pizza in a rather humongous plate, I’m guessing 40cm (that’s 16 inches) and I didn’t notice if they offer the 33cms. Imagine how full we were ( I had two slices) having finished the antipasto earlier and gulping a pint of iced tea (mine) and beer (hubby) as we go. We had the other whole pizza taken back to the hotel. ^_^
It was a dinner so satisfying (read: burp full), we went walking for hours afterwards. I was warned that Naples wouldn’t be so safe like other Italian cities and that’s how I felt arriving (as mentioned above) but that night proved to be a safe and lovely one. Walking on long hours, we were able to capture Naples’ beauty and charm at night, will post those photos soon.
Ristorante Pizzeria F. Aiello
Via Santa Maria di Costantinopoli 12 80135 Napoli, Italia 081 441909