Saturday, March 16, 2013

A Famous Pizzeria & the Castles of Naples

The weather in Naples these past few weeks hasn't been the nicest. The winter here brings a lot of rain and wind, and since a majority of things to do and see in the area requires being outside we find ourselves enjoying longer Italian meals inside a cozy restaurant rather than walking around the city in bad weather. But then along came last Saturday with the sun shining bright and temperatures in the low 60s; a perfect day to get out and enjoy the weather.

We had been craving downtown Naples pizza for a while now. We typically get pizza once or twice a week from our favorite place by our house, and it is excellent. But there is something about the way the pizza is made in Naples center that is far different than the pizza in the surrounding areas. So we figured, why not go to the most famous pizzeria in Naples - Pizzeria da Michele. You might recognize it from the movie Eat, Pray, Love where Julia Roberts sits down to have a pie. When we first moved to Naples we went to this pizzeria with Jon's parents and waited almost TWO hours to sit down. This time we only waited about 20 minutes since it is the off season and we went earlier in the day. This is touted as being the best pizza in Naples so it got us thinking... if Italy has the best pizza in the world, and Naples has the best pizza in Italy, then I guess this must be the best pizza in the world! Oh, and it is. A gooey liquid center caused by the Buffalo Mozzarella, with a sweet doughy crust. It was perfection.

My margherita pizza
After a very satisfying meal we went to Castle Sant'Elmo, which is known for its incredible views of the city. The castle has existed since 1275 where over the years it had many uses. Relatives of royalty lived inside, it was used as a prison, it became property of the military, and in 1985 it was opened as a museum. The castle can be seen from various points in the city and highway. Once inside the castle there isn't much to see, but the views of Naples are STUNNING and that's the reason why most people visit this castle.

Naples and Mt. Vesuvius

Spaccanapoli - The street that splits Naples in two

The Amalfi Coast in the back

Taken from Artribune
After we left the castle we found ourselves back at sea level again and walked along Via Partenope, a long street right along the water with many runners, bikers, and people out for an afternoon stroll.

We walked right to Castle dell'Ovo, the Egg Castle. It is named such because according to a medieval legend, the Roman poet Virgil put a magical egg inside the foundation of castle (or according to another story, inside a cage in its dungeon). Legend has it that if the egg breaks, the city of Naples would experience death and destruction.

Castle dell'Ovo on a cloudy day in April 2012

There is yet another castle in Naples that is hard to miss if you are catching any ferry to any of the islands, as the castle towers over the port. Castle Nuovo, or the New Castle began construction in 1279 and was called the New Castle in order to distinguish it from Castle dell'Ovo. We didn't visit this castle on this particular day, but it seemed like a good time to put in what we did see last April.

The Grand Courtyard

On the archway of the entrance
In "Armory Hall" where the floor is made of glass and you can see ancient ruins & skeletons

Inside Baron's Hall
The dome of Baron's Hall
We had a fantastic day downtown and really enjoyed the amazing views and photo opportunities that we set out for. Delicious pizza, beautiful weather, and gorgeous scenery had us thinking that we must soak up these opportunities while we can... we don't have much time left here!


  1. It still amazes me how many castles are located in Europe, especially Italy! There is something very mysterious and intriguing about a castle. The Castle Sant' Elmo is an example of what I'm talking about. I also found it fascinating how the Castle dell'Ovo got its name. And the Castle Nuovo is exactly what I picture a castle should look like! The archway of the castle entrance is spectacular and very beautiful, and of course, very mysterious!

  2. You almost sound homesick for Naples already!!!!