The Chaos and Charm of Naples

Naples chaotic or charming?

Naples is a curious beast, so different from the rest of Italy. It sprawls as a disorganized array of narrow streets, decrepit buildings and elevated expressways. It is notoriously hard to get around and difficult to get to know, but give it a chance. When you really dig into this chaotic city you will find rich culture and world famous food for a great price.

Despite the madness Napolitans are proud of their city. Naples defies the odds the local people live with the constant threat of volcanic eruption. We’re talking city-killer, Mount Vesuvius (read, volcano). It rises high above the city and dominates the skyline. She has struck before, the largest and most well known in AD79. Burying the nearby town of Pompeii under several feet of ash. The last time Vesuvius was generous enough to share some volcanic effluent was 1944. Thus still being an active volcano brings the ever real risk of total destruction of Naples. Napolitans adopt a rather laissez faire approach to life. Preferring to take each day as it comes and not worrying too much about the future – perhaps we can all learn from this.

Pizza, Pizza, Pizza!

Naples is also famed for its pizza, that classic Italian cuisine known all around the world. We visited one of the oldest and best pizzerias in town, L’Antica Pizzeria. There is always a massive line outside, which is saying something given the Napolitans rarely queue for anything. This is the gold standard of pizza. Fresh dough, hand made, a small amount of cheese, tomato sauce with a pour over of extra virgin olive oil. It is then fired in a traditional pizza oven at 450c for no longer than 90 seconds, the raging wood fire adding just the right amount of smokey flavour. Cooked to perfection, this is €5 of joy:

“Please go to this pizzeria. Order the margherita pizza with double mozzarella. If you do not eat this pizza when you are in Naples, please lie to me and tell me that you did.”
Elizabeth Gilbert



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