Last year while travelling with the sister, we managed a stop in at Naples for a couple of nights between our ferry from Croatia and heading back to Rome in time for her flight.
It was one of those trips of many destinations, so prior research had been thin on the ground. Lucky for us, our airbnb host circled a couple of recommended pizzerias on a map so we had destinations to aim for when heading into the belly of Naples’ old town.
Pizzeria San Michele was the winner of the bunch. I have never tasted such deliciousness, seriously. I am a failure at decisions when it comes to choosing anything, so the three pizza menu (marinara, margherita and margherita with double mozzerella) is amazing.
We knew we were on to something good when we encountered the massive crowd outside on our first trip at two in the afternoon. A tip for your trip, you can jump the crowds outside, who are waiting to sit down in the restaurant, if you get your pizza to takeaway. They sliced it for us (not always so common), and we sat on the (filthy) footpath outside to eat.
We had an early lunch the next day to get another pizza in our bloated bellies before catching our train. At 11 in the morning there were no crowds, and the pizza making process was also a lot more chilled.
It’s also the Mangia, Prega, Ama (Eat, Pray, Love) pizzeria, but don’t let any thoughts on the book or movie put you off. Eat here! You won’t regret it. I am hoping for at least a return to Rome this year, where I will somehow justify a day trip down Naples way..
While you’re in Naples also check out:
We caught the Circumvesuviana train to Ercolano Scavi station, then a shuttle through the company located in the square to your left as you exit the station. Their most popular route seemed to be to Mt Vesuvius, so we had our own shuttle to the site. I remember this only costing 3 euro each way, but my memory may be failing me. Their drop offs seem pretty regular, so although we wanted to stay longer than our driver told us his return time would be, we didn’t have to wait long for a pick up once we did actually leave. There weren’t any pocket maps of the site available from the ticketing office so we took a photo of the map in the office, then used the Lonely Planet to find any sites of interest. Various sections were closed off for renovation.
Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli (Naples Archeological Museum)
Most things decorative from the Pompeii and Herculaneum sites have ended up in this museum. Not all the museum is open all the time due to staffing shortages. When we went in October, some of the collection (including the gladiator armor and fossilised bread) was out on loan (which I actually saw in a Pompeii exhibition while in Munich over New Years).
Naples old town
One of my favourite things to do while visiting a new town is just to wander the streets. This section of Naples is crammed and chaotic (as is all of Naples) but beautiful. The street life was incredibly vibrant, kids were playing football in the streets, washing was strung up between apartment buildings, there was many a food stall around. and people were everywhere. We had been told my an Italian friend that we would be eaten alive there, but his main piece of advice was about not buying electronics from someone on the street, because you would end up with sand. But who buys their electronics on the street! I mean honestly. So although I was always holding onto my bag with a firmer grip than usual whenever we were walking around, we both came out unscathed. And you have to venture into this part of town to buy the pizza, anyway.
Pizza photos and a few others of Naples above. The one of me taken by Amanda.