Do As the Napoletanos Do

Just last month, UNESCO gave traditional Napoletana Pizza-making cultural heritage status. The traditional Neapolitan pizzas are strictly Marinara and, of course, the Margherita. I visited Naples for the first time for the New Year, and oooo baby, I had a blast eating some pizza.

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Gotta have a small art piece of a pizzaiulo (pizza-maker). Found in Sorbillo.

I tried out two well-known pizzerias: Sorbillo and Starita – both family owned, and both delicious.

Literally down the street from my Airbnb was Sorbillo, which sits on the corner of Via Atri and the very busy, Via dei Tribunali. The closest metro stops are Dante and Museo. Our Airbnb host suggested going early. Anything beyond 2pm and you’ll be waiting a lengthy time. (Side note: Most restaurants do close in the middle of the day and re-open during the evening. You may want to try to wait in line before Sorbillo re-opens in the evening to get a spot without waiting)

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Me and my travelling partner went just after opening (12pm) and got seated without a wait time. Woo-hoo! Seriously, during the evening wait time is probably 1-2 hours. There is also a separate line if you’re ordering for take-away, however, that too can be quite long.

I ordered the Margherita Bufala D.O.P. and it was absolute heaven. The pizza was quite large and although I told myself I’d only eat half, I ended up eating all of it. No Regrets! Honestly, I don’t why I told myself that haha. The crust was absolutely delicious and it had a great sauce-to-cheese ratio.

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Margherita Bufala D.O.P.

My friend and I also ate at Starita, near the Materdei metro stop. Lines are a lot shorter than Sorbillo, but waiting is still required. We waited for about 40 minutes. Pizzas were smaller but equally delicious. I have to say…… I think I liked Starita a tiny bit more than Sorbillo. While Sorbillo’s pizzas were larger, the marinara would soak through the crust (a common situation, I know), but there wasn’t so much of that for the Starita pizzas.

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I had fantastic Margherita pizzas in both locations and both were filling. If you happen to travel to Naples, do make the time and effort to visit these places. Beware of the wait times though! Both places get crazy busy and you may have to shove your way past a crowd to put your name down. Worth it!

 

 

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The picture file of my Margherita was corrupted, unfortunately. So here’s a picture of my beer instead! 😅😅

Also if you happen to live in the NYC area, or if you are planning a trip there, a Starita off-shoot (Don Antonio), and Sorbillo have locations there. Buon Appetito!

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Actual footage of me running to the nearest pizzeria

Wine Me Up Before You Go-Go

Once upon a time I blew through the remainder of my student loans to take a quick trip around Europe after I completed my Master’s back in 2013 #NoRegrets. I started out in Paris, flew to Verona, then took a train to Florence, and finally Rome. The highlights of said trip were definitely an open air opera in Verona, a restaurant in Florence, and a wine tour in the breathtaking surroundings of Tuscany.

By some miracle, I looked at events in Verona prior to flying over and saw that the Arena di Verona was performing Romeo and Juliet. Can you say fate? I quickly purchased a ticket and it became my only planned activity, as I don’t always like to plan everything in advance. It was amazing! While Romeo and Juliet is no longer playing, I definitely recommend booking a ticket to see one of the Arena’s open air operas. And what do you know, they have a festival in the summer of 2017. Did I mention this Arena was built in the first century? Bring comfortable cushions to sit on!

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During the Romeo and Juliet Performance

After Verona, I took a train to Florence. Once I dropped off my things at the hostel (Ostello Santa Monaca), I quickly headed out to hunt for some food. I was walking in the rain so I stopped at the first restaurant I saw which happened to be Osteria Santo Spirito. I took a seat outside in their sheltered patio and began salivating as I saw and smelled all the dishes pass me by. This was, hands down, the best place I ate in all of Italy and all I had was a simple pasta pomodoro. I actually didn’t take photos of my food because I was too busy getting my culinary world rocked. But please, if you find yourself in Florence, eat at this restaurant!!!! (Multiple exclamation marks for emphasis)

When I returned to my hostel I looked at their tourist brochures (as one does), and saw they worked with a local travel company that organised day trips to Tuscany. Um yes please, sign me up! The hostel staff assisted with booking for the next day but feel free to do so on your own here. I opted for the San Gimignano, Siena, and Chianti tour. The tour included pick up and drop off at the main train station in Florence, a visit to medieval towns and monasteries, and of course wine tours, complete with grappa (the Italian tequila).

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