A good day out this weekend in Naples, which has a tenuous Nervi connection (about which more later), but this trip was mostly for fun. Catie Newell of *alibi studio had some nighttime photography to take care of there, and a couple of us went along as extra pairs of eyes, with the promise of “the best pizza in Naples” according to someone who should know.
Naples is sort of like Rome with the training wheels off–it’s kind of anarchic, nothing runs quite right, but it has moments of absolutely breathtaking beauty. That’s Vesuvius and the port from the heights of the Spanish Quarter, where we spent most of our time, and you get a sense for the layering and the patina that this place has.
It’s also a place that has had strong leadership and a thriving economy, as evidence by the Galleria Umberto I, a nineteenth-century shopping arcade that’s rivaled only by the one in Milan for span and ornament. But those days are clearly in the past as the city’s fortunes have fallen. The Archaeological Museum is maybe the city’s biggest draw (along with being a staging point for Pompeii and Herculaneum), but even there you get the sense–in closed galleries and the handful of guards scattered throughout the priceless antique sculptures–that things are teetering on the edge of collapse.
Still, Naples is full of the energy it takes to collectively hold things together. The Spanish Quarter was full of teenagers racing on motorini, helmets and speed limits be damned. And the best pizza in Naples? I don’t have an exhaustive comparison set, but the salsiccia at La Pizzaria Notizia, about four miles outside of the tourist area (taxi, trust me), was certainly impressive. And shameless name-dropping of our source got us a quick moment in the kitchen watching them blast pies out of the 900°F oven. If I didn’t like my job so much? I’d drop everything and apprentice here, I think…