One Day in Naples, Italy
February 9, 2018
During my solo trip to Italy, my goal was to eat as much food as possible. If I saw historical stuff, that’d be an added bonus, but I just wanted to fill up on pizza, pasta, and everything else Italian restaurants had to offer. Although I was staying in Rome, obviously a trip to Naples was necessary in order to get my pizza fill.
I set aside a day to make the trip, booked my tickets for the Frecciarossa high speed train, and made sure I was ready to eat as much pizza as I could fit into 6 hours. The train ride only took about an hour, and I even had time to check out the Trevi Fountain before I left Rome around 10am.
Before I left Boston, I had googled mapped my Naples pizza journey so that I could avoid getting lost. The plan that I stuck to was to walk from Naples Centrale Station to Pizzeria Da Michele, then to Sorbillo, then to Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba.
Pizzeria Da Michele
My first Naples pizza stop was Pizzeria Da Michele, which is famous for being where Julia Roberts goes to eat in Eat, Pray, Love. You know the scene… “I’m in love. I’m having a relationship with my pizza.” My internet research had me anticipating a long wait and crowd outside, but when I got there I was actually able to grab a table right away. Granted, it was 11am on a Tuesday in January, but hey! I’ll take it!
I got a classic extra cheese margherita pizza with a Nastro Azzurro beer, which was served super quickly and was really inexpensive. I ate one slice without a fork and knife before I gave in and ate it like the locals do. It was delicious! Every bite was so perfect and simple and balanced. Naples definitely impressed me right off of the bat.
On my way to Sorbillo, I popped in and out of some of the shops on Via del Tribunali to shop for souvenirs. Naples is famous for their handmade nativity scene figures, so I got one for my grandparents, along with a few other knick-knacks. Once I arrived at Sorbillo, it was closer to 1pm, and there actually was a crowd outside waiting to be seated. I put my name in, grabbed a glass of wine from the shop next door, and walked around the immediate area a little bit before my name was called over the loudspeaker maybe 20 minutes later.
I was seated at a communal table and to be honest was a little intimidated by the menu, which was all in Italian. I ordered the pizza you see above because I could translate enough to know that it had ricotta, but I didn’t realize that it was a white pizza! Had I known, I would have probably ordered another classic margherita pizza, since I was really loving the simple tomato sauce my previous pizza had. Regardless, it was great, and I can always visit their new location in NYC for another shot at ordering.
Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba
My last pizza stop of the day was Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba, which a lot of people say is the oldest pizzeria ever! They even have their own wikipedia page! They opened as a stand in 1738 and the restaurant opened in 1830- of course I had to make my pilgrimage and pay my respects. It was later in the afternoon when I got there, and there wasn’t a wait for a table. However, they sat me upstairs where my fellow guests seemed to be a group of 11 year olds on a field trip. Maybe they were on a pizza pilgrimage too?
My last Naples pizza order was another classic margherita with a beer to wash it down. I took my time eating this one, both because I knew it was the last pizza I’d have in Italy, and because I actually had a few more hours to kill before my train back to Rome left. To be honest, I didn’t love the big tomato chunks in the sauce, but other than that, it was another outstanding pizza. The service was personable and they were even nice enough to flag me down when I almost forgot my bag of souvenirs on the way out.
All in all, my favorite Naples pizza was my first one at Pizzeria Da Michele. I definitely recommend that if you’re within anywhere of a high-speed train and love pizza, you should make the effort to get to Naples. As a solo traveler I wasn’t confused or intimidated at all. The train stations in Rome and Naples were both easy to navigate, I was able to book my tickets ahead of time for less than $50, and it took just an hour each way. Naples was super walkable and 6 hours was just enough time to fill myself up on pizza before heading “home”. Hopefully I’ll be able to go back soon!