Sunday, May 10, 2009

A quick day trip to Naples: Art and some of the best pizza in the world.

Yes I realize saying the pizza is some of the best in the world is a bold statement but I stand by it. More on that later.

On Friday my friend E. and I went down the Naples. Of course forgot my camera. If E. posts photos to her blog, I'll link to them.

Now that I think about it, we were a little crazy. We took the slow train down (had to save money) and spent more time on the round trip than in Naples itself. ha

First we went to MADRE (Museo D'Arte Contemporanea Donna Regina). There was a Pop Art exhibit (ends later this month). I'm not the biggest Jeff Koons fan or of Pop Art but loved the Museum.

There's a great permanent collection and the space itself is worth a visit. This contemporary art museum is a former 13th Century palazzo. On the third floor there is a huge terrace with incredible views of the city and Mount Vesuvius.

There is a fantastic Francesco Clemente mural and tiled floor.

After the museum we went to Santa Maria Donna Regina Vecchia. This church was started in 780. There was massive earthquake in 1293 and the church was rebuilt.

It's beautiful and one of the few Gothic style churches in Italy.

I was starving by lunch time. I had no idea the pizza place E. was looking for was the infamous Da Michele. There are only two types of pizza to choose from; Margherita or Marinara.

This place is worth the hype. I'm used to the thinner, crispier Roman crust (and like it) but I would return to Naples just for the pizza. After all it's the place where this amazing dish was invented.

Da Michele opened in the 1870 and it's nothing fancy. It feels like a neighborhood joint. There was a wait to be seated but the pizza arrives quickly after you order. We sat in the first room where we could see the chefs put the pizza in the old wood burning ovens.

I assume the key to the great taste are the fresh simple ingredients. Growing up with excellent pizza I'm picking about my pie and my slices. I have eaten Dominos and Pizza Hut in the past (college, office parties, etc. ) and I'm glad I never have to again.

This was my second time in Naples. It's Rome hectic, chaotic and mixed with astounding beauty. I felt so disoriented. There appears to be no urban planning at all. You walk down a block and look into what you think is a store window but it's someone's living room. The elaborate religious shrines are incredible. In Rome everyone wears helmets when driving/riding scooters, Naples? No.

Another thing that stood out in Naples was the lack of tourists. We saw a few in da Michele but that's it.

Random note: Did Trenitalia have someone completely redo their website? I bought my train tickets online and printed out my paper tickets no problem.

The site was easy to navigate and for certain routes you receive a discount when you book online. Two years ago I tried to use the site and got so frustrated I gave up and just bought my tickets at the station.


Scintilla @ Bell'Avventura said...

Lol You 'look into what you think is a store window but it's someone's living room.' Must have been some designer look.

Lola said...

Michele ai Tribunali is by far the Best Pizza On The Planet. Good choice.

I lived in Napoli for 3 years and learned to love it, but it is confusing, scary, overly passionate, possessive, demanding and suffocating at first glance.

Welcome back! Ciao

Moscerina said...

hey, i'll post monday afternoon, and send you the photos.

erin :: the olive notes said...

One day we'll finally make it to Naples...sounds like a fun time!

homebody at heart said...

I just loved Naples especially the passegiata. My favorite pizza, though, is the capriciosa. I can kind of replicate it here at Papa Murhpys Pizza (I know, blasphemy!). They have a thin crust pizza with artichokes and chicken. I substitue ham (Canadian bacon) for the chicken. (Chicken on pizza is just wrong! But, then, so is tuna.) That's as close as I can get. I think we ate Japanese food, too, in Naples one day.

J.Doe said...

The pizza in Naples is great but so is everything else.I loved everything I ate there.

Skywalker said...

No pics? Booo. So you were near Mt. V and didn't visit Pompeii? Hope you had fun.

Gypsygirl said...

Hands down,THE best pizza in the world. I was there in February and it was worth the train ride to Naples. Believe the hype!!! Both pizzas are to die for. Since seeing Samantha Brown there on her show in the Travel channel I had to go!!! Yes! yes! yes! Da Michele rules!!

Gypsygirl said...

Oh and yes, Naples is crazy, especially around the train station. My friend swore we were going to be run over.

Valerie said...

Fun daytrip! We loved our day in Napoli. The pizza is every bit as good as the hype, truly spoiled us for pizza anywhere else. We spent our whole day eating, it seemed!

jblnyc said...

Loved Naples and loved Da Michele. I'm from Brooklyn so we have some really good pizza because many of them are Napoletana families (including half of mine so most of the time we're making our own pizza) but still, I often think back to the summer of 2007 when I visited some family there and got to enjoy that pizza :D said...

sounds like a great fun short trip .
I didn't get to see naples last time I was there , but I would like to this fall when I come there.
I would LOVE to try the pizza. said...

Oh and I REALLY want to visit Mt V and pomeii

michelle | bleeding espresso said...

Fun fun fun! Hmmm perhaps we should meet in Napoli someday?!

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

scintilla - well "designer" might be pushing it. ha

lola - it's truly a fascinating city. I would love to go back and spend a few days there.

moscerina - cool.

erin - I'll be curious to hear what you thing of it.

homebody - I don't think I've had that kind of pizza. I agree...chicken and pizza? not a fan of pineapples on pizza either.

j. doe - seriously I have to get back and check out some of the food. Everyone raves about it.

skywalker - nope. I forgot my camera. We went down only for the day. We were in Naples for only four or so hours. I'm going to wait until the fall to go to Pompeii. It's was crazy hot on friday and it's only May.

gypsygirl - I saw that show. I didn't remember the pizza place she went to though. I agree the pizza alone is worth the train ride down. The train station is bananas. It reminds me of NYC Port Authority before Times Square became Disneyfied.

valerie - really, eating pizza is not a bad way to spend a day.

jblnyc - Aaaah New York pizza. It wasn't until I moved that I had to "suffer" eating bad pies. ha

babyboyla - those places are on my list as well.

michelle - hmmmm that might work!

Tracie B. said...

so fun that day when we hung out and ate pizza with nastro azzuro!

girasoli said...

I dragged a friend to Da Michele's pizzeria when I was in Naples for a visit years ago. Great pizza! I enjoyed Naples except for the crazy cars. I came pretty close to being run over when trying to cross the street.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

tracie b - that was a great day!

girasoli - the traffic makes Rome seem like Greenwich CT.