If you’re looking to lose your margarita pizza virginity, Naples is the place to go! Napoli, the unofficial capital of the South, is known for its amazing food (as is all of Italy) and the place to go to experience an original margarita.
Lizzie, what makes it so special and did you go all the way to Italy just for pizza?
Well, no, but it was a factor.
I’m starting off this post with food because it plays such an important part in Italian culture and is just the best thing on earth. They get it so right.
When you arrive in Napoli, you have stepped into Food Heaven. Or Food porn – however you choose to see it.
Even if one tries to recreate such dishes at home, they don’t have access to the delicious, beautiful, fresh Italian ingredients. Margarita pizza is made up of a few ingredients, including San Marzano tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella which are grown and created in the Campagna region. Napoli is also known for its Sfogliatella (svoy-a-tella), fat bits of pastry that resemble lobster tails. It wasn’t my favourite pastry I tried, but did find alternatives – many pistachio croissants!
Day 1 – Friday
My boyfriend and I got a Friday morning flight and returned Monday evening, which was the right amount of time for us to explore the city and pop over to Pompeii for the day. In fact, we could’ve come back earlier – but more days means more time for food, right?
Friday was an explore-y day, where it was fortunately dry and not as busy as I thought it would be. After popping on the tube to our apartment, we grabbed a late lunch (most places in Europe close at this time, as they tend to eat later in the evening) just around the corner at Annare Ristorante Pizzeria where we had the margarita. We didn’t speak for several minutes – I’ll just leave that there.
With full bellies of cheese and dough – and a dash of wine – what next? Espresso, of course, at 4 in afternoon. Oh how I miss Italian coffee. It’s just so smooth and light. I want more of it each time I go and don’t feel off my nut on coffee. In fact, I probably felt more tired! We then waddled around for a bit longer before returning to the apartment. After a few hours of reading my book, I grabbed a fat pistachio cannoli and we headed out to a bar just off the main high street to watch the World Cup. We think they tried to overcharge us for drinks, which is common in tourist hotspots, so just be mindful and stand your ground. Before bed, we grabbed another drink at Cisterna Bistrot, a Bistro bar just below the apartment, which was very chic and had an array of wines.
Day 2 – Saturday
Saturday was sadly a very rainy day, but we didn’t let that stop us Brits – it’s in our DNA after all! Despite our broken brollies, we ventured around to grab more delicious coffee and pastries at Monidee Cafe before getting a bit soaked. Towards this end of Napoli is the iconic Unica Sede La Sfogliatelle Mary, which is known for its pastries. There was a massive queue but not a lot of flavours that interested me, hence trying one somewhere else. But for me, pistachio croissants always come out on top! Even the McDonald’s was impressive – delicious coffee, pastries and macarons.
Careful to avoid turning into a pastry and to dry off a bit, we headed back to the apartment and listened to the rain; I read some more of my book (A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas – 5 stars!), napped and waited for round 2 of food for the day: pasta! We stopped off for a coffee beforehand at Leopoldo, which turned out to be like a pudding. I got a super rich, thick pistachio coffee. It was delicious, but boyf helped me out in the end – I needed room for pasta!
The day before, I’d spotted a cute place: Antica Trattoria e Pizzeria. I’m not usually good at picking food spots, but this was perfect. We got carbonara and gnocchi – goodness. I’m salivating as I write this as it was so delicious. Everything was cooked perfectly and there was not a scrap left. Deliziosa!
Here’s a tip if you want to take pasta home and not pay over the odds – be a local and go to the supermarket! Tourist hot spots are designed to overcharge you and think it’s authentic – the supermarket is a goldmine for getting a variety of different types of pasta at a fraction of the price. I’d also recommend trying Limonata – very yummy.
Day 3 – Sunday – Pompeii
The sun was shining and Napoli revealed itself and all its glory. It was tourist central! It was so busy and to be honest, quite unpleasant, having to navigate through all the crowds, particularly on the main high street and back streets (which we’d fortunately done in the rain). I got a cappuccino and tried my first (and probably only) sfogliatella from Cuori di Sfogliatella. I just found it to be almost burnt on the outside and a bit mushy in the middle. Anyhow, after finishing it and downing another espresso, it was off to Pompeii!
We got the train from Stazione di Montesanto (it’s platform 2 which is about a street away from the main station) to get to Pompeii, all in less than an hour. From there, we walked 20 minutes to the Pompeii ruins (just in time for the last entry at 3pm). I don’t know what I expected, but I didn’t realise how big it was! I regret not getting an audio guide, as we ended up researching history online as there weren’t many information signs around the landmark. I loved the architecture and picturing what life was like, all before the tragic eruption in 79AD.
As the sun set, our bellies grumbled, so we headed back via Antica Pizza Fritta da Zia Esterina Sorbillo to grab a pizza fritta (fried pizza). There was a massive queue, but I was adamant we stay and get our goods. I can’t describe the sensation as I bit into the super soft dough, into what was an inside-out pizza. It was tasty, although after a while the ricotta and ham got to me and filled me up. As our time in Italy was running out, we wanted to try all the food we could. We’d managed to try the staples, but I wanted something sweet to finish the night. And of course that meant…
Yup. They got it all right. Affordable, delicious coffee and macarons. Faultless. Why don’t we have McDonald’s this boujie in the UK?! Upon reflection, I’m really surprised we didn’t seek gelato, or even Neapolitan ice cream. Of all the places to try it and we didn’t even do that.
Day 4 – Monday
After handing back the apartment keys in the morning, we were left to roam Naples for a few more hours. I won’t lie, we were a bit bored by this point and trying to kill time. However, this meant time for coffee and croissants – not pistachio this time – from Caffé Moscati (next to where we got margarita pizzas on the first day).
There wasn’t much else to do in the time we had, so we headed back to the airport and killed time reading once again.
Every time I’ve been to Italy, whether that be for skiing, in Summer and in the Winter, I have loved every moment of it. I hope you enjoyed reading my experience and it helped provide some tips and recommendations, if you’re planning to go.
You can also check out my Instagram where I logged some of my trip.
Italia, until next time!
Thank you for reading this far – that’s Blogmas day 1! I look forward to seeing you tomorrow