Trust me when I say that your food-loving soul will be so happy in Naples, Italy, and you’ll kick yourself for not allotting more time in this intriguing city. Before deciding to stay in Naples I read countless negative comments about the city, but most of these people didn’t even leave the train station. They were just passing by on their way to the Amalfi Coast and had a bad experience with shady locals targeting tourists.
Let me tell you this, shady locals are everywhere not just in Naples. Be aware everywhere you go.
There are some areas in Naples that aren’t the safest to wander, but that goes for the majority of cities in the world. We come from Chicago so we’re well-versed in being wary. I will admit Naples isn’t for everyone, and the city’s a little shocking when you first arrive (especially after Positano).
It’s the third largest city in Italy, and one of the poorest cities in Europe. When you start walking through the streets you’ll notice the city has no control of the tagging on the walls. The homes are small and appear to be crowded. You hardly hear anyone speaking English.
If you only like pretty cities filled with flowers and don’t have a passion for food, then Naples isn’t for you. But if you sometimes like traveling off the beaten path, and can appreciate the hell out of a good pizza then you don’t have to go much farther than Naples.
Where to stay in Naples
We came in on a ferry to avoid the neighborhood around the train station. The ferry dropped us off closer to our B&B and the historical center (where I recommend you stay). The area is easily walkable and filled with amazing restaurants and street food. We stayed at Salotto Borbonico Bed & Breakfast.
A super friendly couple runs the place, it’s brand new, and they probably have around 3-4 guestrooms. What sold me were the views from the rooms! I could see so much of the city from my balcony alone.
The B&B was clean, incredibly affordable, and within walking distance to a lot of places. However, since it’s near so much, you will hear a lot of noise at night.
What sets Neapolitan pizza apart?
There is a very strict way to make this life-changing pizza. If a restaurant wants to sell the true Neapolitan pizza, then they would need to be AVPN Certified. This is an official team whose mission is “to promote and protect, in Italy and worldwide, the ‘true Neapolitan pizza’.” You will only get certified if you meet their exact requirements and respect the art that is this pizza. Everything from the oven, to each single ingredient that goes on it, is specific. I don’t know about you, but I find this fascinating. SIDE NOTE: My favorite pizza place in Chicago is certified, make a stop if you can’t visit Naples just yet.
Pizza ranked in order of my love
We only had one day to spend in the city where pizza was born, and we knew if wanted to do it right we had to arrive on an empty stomach. It was already 2 pm by the time we arrived, so we hit the ground running. One of my favorite surprises when starting our self-guided food tour was the cost of food! My jaw dropped when we bought our first pizza for ONLY 2 EUROS. I wish we would have spent one less day in Positano, and an extra day in Naples — to eat more and save a ton of money.
Sorbillo- Sorbillo WINS MY HEART. This was the 4th (and last) pizza we had, but it was my favorite. I loved it so much and was so not sick of eating pizza yet that I tried to convince Jorge to split a 5th with me. He couldn’t handle any more food, and he let me down that day. I must mention, the only way we could handle that many pizzas was by splitting only one everywhere we went. We also didn’t sit down and eat anywhere because we didn’t want to lose sunlight and we wanted to walk it off.
source: gino sorbillo facebook
Di Matteo- This was the first place we tried that only cost around 2 euros. They have a restaurant but also serve it like street food. You choose from two pizza options, then they fold it up and hand it to you. I was so confused at first, but this is how they do it! The place next door also serves a cup of wine to go for 1 euro.
L’Antica Pizzeria Da Michele- If you want to know where all the tourists are, go to Da Michele. This is the pizza place that Julia Roberts went to in the movie Eat, Pray, Love. It has also been mentioned in travel books and shows like Rick Steves, etc. Even though it’s filled with tourists, the wait is long (take it to go), and they charge you a whole 5 euros per pizza, Da Michele is still really good.
Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba– Port’Alba is believed to be the world’s first pizza place. How cool is that? The pizza was excellent, but the sauce was a little sweeter than I’d like.
Make sure to also try
Naples has so many delicious staples to choose from, I just wanted to try everything (yes, on top of the 4 pizzas we had). I really do wish we had more time so we could have tried many more dishes! We will definitely be returning to Naples.
Arancini ball- These are stuffed rice balls covered in bread crumbs, fried and filled with cheesy goodness. Get as many as you can eat.
Babà- I had never heard of babà until I visited Naples! It’s a sweet bread soaked in rum. They have different flavors, but they all end up covered in rum lol. I loved it!
Sfogliatella- This is a pastry that kind of reminds me of a croissant, but it’s not as soft. They have a lot of flavors to choose from, and I wish I would have tried more.
And there you have it, I hope you give Naples a try! It’s also a good base if you’d like to do day trips to the island of Procida, the town of Pompeii, or Mount Vesuvius.