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We returned to Naples, Italy for many reasons.
The dirty, chaotic city forged a soft spot in our hearts during our first visit three years ago and created a hankering that we could no longer ignore. We fell hard for the city’s hauntingly picturesque streets, its colorful people and its abundant food. From flaky sfogliatella to the best pizza in the world,
We adore Neapolitan food. In fact, eating is our favorite thing to do in Naples Italy.
Not messing around, we returned to Naples for a full month. For this second visit, we wanted more time to eat our favorite Naples street food but also time to explore other offerings in the Naples food scene at local markets, cafés and restaurants.
To start the month off right, we dove deep into the heart of Naples food with a walking tour of Naples Italy.
It’s no secret that we’re not typical food tour people. We like to do a lot of independent culinary research when we travel, so we really appreciate tours that honor our knowledge while exposing us to new information.
We were lulled by the promise of coffee and pizza mixed with information geared to deep travelers. Of all the Naples tours, this was the ideal tour for us and a great introduction to one of the great Italian food cities.
Naples Walking Tour
We arrived for our Napoli walking tour right on time to find Naples tour guide Fiorella Squillante and our three tour companions – a young American chef living in Rome and his adventurous parents. We quickly discovered that Squillante, a proud Napoli resident, is a published expert about her city and its food.
Within moments of our arrival, Squillante started sharing facts about the historic center of Naples and its status as a UNESCO site. Once she confided that Italy’s densest city is “like no other European city” and showed us around the inside of the 13th century Duomo cathedral, we were hooked by her passion and knowledge. But what about the food???
Coffee and Sfogliatella
After walking along busy Via Tribunale and hearing more stories along the way, we made our first official food stop at Caffeteria Ippolito.
Here, generations of the Ippolito family serve pastries like baba and sfogliatella to hordes of hungry locals looking for tasty, reasonably priced treats, many priced at just one euro – a true bargain even in Naples.
Not wanting to miss a word, we huddled around a small table when espressos arrived so that we could hear Squillante talk about coffee traditions in Naples.
We learned that coffee was invented in France but perfected in Italy, at least in her opinion. We also learned the best time of day for cappuccinos (morning) and when to drink water with coffee (before, not after).
Providing a fun comparison, Carmine Ippolito served us the shop’s two signature sfogliatella pastries. The first was a frolla sfogliatella made with ricotta cheese, orange peel, orange essence and cinnamon.
We shared one, eating it quickly, and then enjoyed the classic, shell-shaped riccia sfogliatella, which featured the same filling and a crunchy layered exterior. Oops – we ate the second one quickly too.
Caffeteria Ippolito is located at Via dei Tribunali, 329, 80138 Napoli, Italy.
Filled with sugar and caffeine, we were ready to eat more. But first, it was time to drink.
Located across the street from Ippolito Caffeteria and beneath the Basilica di San Paolo Maggiore, Limoné is an artisanal shop that distills limoncello on site using a secret family recipe. Not bound by modern conventions, the limoncello artisans peel the lemons by hand before turning the local lemons into liquid gold.
After we peeked into Limonè’s storage room to see a hidden wall from an ancient Roman temple, we tasted regular limoncello and cream limoncello. We found both to be less sweet than we expected.
Did we like it? Let’s just say it was our first limoncello of the month but not our last.
Limoné is located at Piazza San Gaetano, 72, 80138 Napoli, Italy.
Just as we were about to check out nearby food stalls, the sky erupted with rain. No worries on this tour! Squillante didn’t bat an eye as she ushered us to Pescheria Azzurra, a local establishment that functions as both a bustling fish market and a casual restaurant. Seafood is ubiquitous in Naples, and we were thrilled to get our first tastes here.
Although Pescheria Azzurra has both indoor and outdoor seating, we stood under the awning while we feasted on cuoppo mare, a brown paper cone filled with fried zeppoline, anchovies, shrimp and calamari.
The accessibility of seafood served as street food is one of our favorite parts of Naples – dirty and delicious – just like the city itself.
Pescheria Azzurra is located at Via Portamedina, 5, 80134 Napoli, Italy.
Three hours into the tour, and we were yet to eat pizza. We had walked by various pizza shops and had heard stories about many Neapolitan pizza traditions, but no pizza had made its way into our mouths. Now, finally, it was time for the tour to turn into a Naples pizza tour.
Our tiny but tight group of six ambled into O’Cerriglio Trattoria Pizzeria where we were told that we had to work for our lunch. No problem. Actually, it was a super cool opportunity to have a trained pizzaiolo show us how to make pizza and assist us with the process. Learning how to make Neapolitan pizza is a must-do activity when you visit Naples.
The pizzaiolo taught us about the ingredients for the Neapolitan pizza dough (water, yeast and Caputo flour) as well as the best ways to turn the little globes of dough into the perfect pizza base. Though we’ve watched others make pizza, it was an entirely different experience to make it ourselves.
After we chose from typical Neapolitan pizza toppings like Parmigiano cheese, mozzarella cheese, olives and friarielli (what many would call broccoli rabe in the U.S.), we cooked our Neapolitan pizza pies in a blue wood-burning oven one at a time.
Kyle, the chef in our tour group, made the first pie, raising the bar with his fancy kitchen skills. Daryl made the second pie, immediately following Kyle.
Everybody held their breath as they wondered how Daryl’s pie would turn out. Bravo to Daryl – his pie turned out great. Phew!
Clinking sounds filled the restaurant as we toasted each other with local beer and wine. As we quickly devoured our hand-crafted Neapolitan pizza pies, a guitar player serenaded us with tunes originally performed by Billy Joel and the Eagles, adding an ironic yet pleasant touch to the overall experience.
O’Cerriglio Trattoria Pizzeria is located at Via San Biagio Dei Librai, 13, 80138 Napoli, Italy.
All good things must come to an end, and such was the case with our Naples walking tour. After stuffing ourselves with Neapolitan pizza, we made a bonus stop at Guy Odin for a few bites and nibbles.
Known for their creative chocolates, Guy Odin also makes some of the city’s best gelato. Sadly, we only had room to taste the chocolate covered espresso beans, not that we’re complaining. True confession – we continued to tour Naples on our own and returned to Guy Odin on a different day to taste the gelato.
Guy Odin has multiple locations in Naples.
Plan Your Naples Stay
About the Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.