Pizzeria da Michele: London vs Napoli.

The life of a blogger is tougher than you think!.  Oh, yes it is!.  Just imagine, all the time going around the city, finding new places to see and trying new pizza restaurants.  It's tough!.  For my followers I would do anything!.  For this blog I am going to an old traditional Neapolitan pizzeria that has just opened in London.  I am talking about L' Antica Pizzeria da Michele.  

LONDON - Antica Pizzeria da Michele, 125 Stoke Newington Church St, Stoke Newington, London N16 0UH. 

LONDON - Antica Pizzeria da Michele, 125 Stoke Newington Church St, Stoke Newington, London N16 0UH. 

NAPOLI - Antica Pizzeria da Michele, Via Cesare Sersale 1, 80139 Napoli.

NAPOLI - Antica Pizzeria da Michele, Via Cesare Sersale 1, 80139 Napoli.

You might think 'well, there are many pizza restaurants in London, why is this one so special?'.  Well, first because it makes an amazing pizza and I can say this as a Neapolitan and secondly because it is one of the oldest pizzerias in Napoli, opened by Michele Condurro in 1870.  The Condurro's pizza making origins go even further back as the grandfather of Michele was a pizza maker at the court of the Bourbons.  In 1844 the grandfather made a pizza for the Russian Tzar Nicholas II and his wife Alessandrina Feodorwna, who had come to visit king Ferdinand II.  For this occasion he made a special pizza just for them: the cosacca, half marinara half margherita.  The legend says that they enjoyed the pizzas so much that they gave the Neapolitan king a present of two bronze statues, now in the gardens of the Royal Palace in Piazza Plebiscito.  The rest is history.  Since this time, the Condurro family have only made two types of pizzas: Margherita (mozzarella cheese, tomato, oil and basil) and Marinara (tomato, garlic, oil and oregano). 

Pizza Marinara in Napoli.

Pizza Marinara in Napoli.

In the movie Eat Pray Love, Julia Roberts appears eating a delicious pizza in the Pizzeria da Michele.  You might of liked or not liked the movie, but honestly I can't disagree with Julia, 'It is a moral imperative to enjoy a pizza in Napoli!'.  

The menu at Antica pizzeria da Michele in Napoli.

The menu at Antica pizzeria da Michele in Napoli.

The following step is to open a restaurant in other places in the world, so more people can enjoy amazing pizzas.  After Tokyo and Rome, London is next!.

LONDON - Pizzaioli (Pizza makers).

LONDON - Pizzaioli (Pizza makers).

NAPOLI - Pizzaioli.

NAPOLI - Pizzaioli.

In cosmopolitan London which has a huge choice of international cuisines, it is a challenge to open a pizzeria with just two types of pizza.  It seems though for the expat Neapolitans they finally have a proper Neapolitan pizzeria in the UK and apparently, British people seem to appreciate it as well.  Probably the time of the 'pineapple pizza' is fading into the past.  More people around the world are well travelled now and appreciate authentic food and that is why Londoners are flocking to eat the proper Neapolitan Pizza.  Just a few weeks ago, in the London Evening Standard Newspaper, Gordon Ramsey expressed his opinion regarding the 'pineapple pizza', "an absolute no-no on the Italian dish".  Neapolitans have the same opinion.  Pineapple pizza is just wrong!.  Personally, I don't want to create a debate about it, but as a Neapolitan, I can understand why we are so passionate about it.  We take very seriously our products from Napoli.  We also want you to enjoy the best pizza available and not a second best experience.

Hungry Londoners.

Hungry Londoners.

And speaking of authenticity, if you want to go to L' Antica pizzeria da Michele in London, be aware that the pizzeria like the Napoli one is always busy and you can't book a table in advance.  The system is 'first come, first served', so I suggest you turn up as early as you can.  For the London one there is an app to tell you when it is your turn in the queue.

The pizza oven in Napoli.

The pizza oven in Napoli.

Some people say that the real secret of the pizza is the water used to make the dough and that's why Neapolitan pizzas are so unique, however the London one is very close to the original.  The oven and the chefs were brought from Naples and the pizzas have the same authentic flavours.  The tomato sauce is deliciously fresh and the smell of the basil is amazing.  Ah!!, it really seemed to me that I was in Napoli...except for the weather!.

This is where Julia Roberts sat in Naples. 

This is where Julia Roberts sat in Naples. 

London pizza before.

London pizza before.

and after.

and after.

Spot the Julia.

Spot the Julia.

This says it all.

This says it all.

 

L' Antica Pizzeria da Michele

London Opening hours:  12.00 - 23.00 (Sunday closes 10.30) Closed Monday.

Napoli Opening hours:    11.00 - 23.00 Closed Sunday.

La Movida . . . . Neapolitan Night life.

Alleys at night.

Alleys at night.

 

Napoli is a lively city at night as well as during the day.  As soon as the sun goes down, it becomes a very interesting universe of joyful people, kids playing football, girls wearing the best dresses just to impress, families, couples and singles, it is a place where everything is possible, even some bookshops turn into vibrant bars or the fishmonger shops into smart fish restaurants. 

Bars and restaurants are open until late and are always busy.  For late I mean, really late almost until dawn.  Some could be scared just to go out in the 'dangerous' alleys of Napoli.  It's nothing like that.  I have been living in Napoli all my life and I have always felt safe.  Just take the usual precautions that you would do in any other city.   I actually found that many tourists get used to this night 'lifestyle' very easily.  How could you not.

Especially in Summer, when the schools are finished, the heat is more gentle in the evening,  from the promenade to the historical centre, everywhere is always very crowded with markets, musicians or just people that can't sleep or don't want to.   Everywhere is an interesting place to visit.  It just depends of what you are looking for.  You can have a pizza or a burger, to sit in or take away.   There are also lounge bars and wine bars (enoteche), or listen to live classical music in an old churche or a dj set in a pub. 

Kids playing football in piazza Dante until late.

Kids playing football in piazza Dante until late.

 

The areas called baretti which means 'little bars' have a lot of lounge bars, clubs and bars where you can have a nice drink and chill out with friends.  There are many around Napoli and they are not only for the young people, there is a huge choice for every age. The old town, from piazza Dante around piazza del Gesu' and  Monteoliveto is an area very crowded especially with students, in fact not far from there is a university.  Here there are lots of pizzerias, restaurants, kebab shops and bars where you can have a nice cocktail or a shot for €2.  Not far from here is the Keste' which is more than a bar, it's an art gallery with live music sessions. 

Book shops in the morning, bars in the evening in piazza Dante.

Book shops in the morning, bars in the evening in piazza Dante.

Pizzerias open until late, Port'Alba pizzeria.

Pizzerias open until late, Port'Alba pizzeria.

San Sebastiano street at night.

San Sebastiano street at night.

In the posh area of Riviera di Chiaia you will find small and trendy bars with dj set music like the Kiki bar or many more around via Chiaia, via San Pasquale or vico Belledonne.  There is no need for me to tell you which one is the best, there are so many and they are always full of people.  A nice walk along the promenade to Borgo Marinari around the Castel dell' Ovo is a very interesting spot for restaurants and bars near the sea.

Going up to the hill of Vomero you will pass to via Aniello Falcone, another area full of baretti like Il Baretto, One, Baik or Flame.  The bonus of this area is the stunning view of the gulf, which is not included in the price!

Once you are at the Vomero, there is a good choice of bars and pubs, like Goodfellas, where every night there are live tribute bands performing. There is the famous Fonoteca with a huge range of classic cocktails and music.  Some other bars have on certain days of the week cocktails at fixed prices from around €1 to €3. 

All the areas have very trendy and popular bars so for me it is not easy to recommend one in particular.  The beauty of going out is not only the venue itself but what's around, in fact the night life is more outside, in the streets, in the narrow alleys and in the squares.  It is this vibe that makes this city so unique and charming.  

If you want to stay out until late be aware that much of the transports will close quite early (check the section Travel info of my website for metro and funicular timetables) however, you can walk from one place to another (for instance from the old part to the promenade is more or less 30 minutes) but if you are getting to or from the Vomero taking a taxi will cost you around €15. 

A typical Neapolitan night out is not to get drunk, but to enjoy some good food, a chat with friends and few drinks.  If you want to live like the 'local' you should go first to a pizzeria or a pub and then in one of those bars until you are not too tired.  There is no rush, remember, you are in Napoli, and here having a good time is more important than sleep!

 

Book shop in the daytime, bar at night, Perditempo, Vico S. Pietro a Maiella, 8, 80138.

Book shop in the daytime, bar at night, Perditempo, Vico S. Pietro a Maiella, 8, 80138.

Pizza take away at Pizzeria I Decumani, Via dei Tribunali, 58, 80138 Napoli

Pizza take away at Pizzeria I Decumani, Via dei Tribunali, 58, 80138 Napoli

Another book shop/bar Libreria Berisio, Via Port'Alba, 28, 80134 Napoli.

Another book shop/bar Libreria Berisio, Via Port'Alba, 28, 80134 Napoli.

If you need a quick refreshment, for a few euros you can have a handmade lemonade. 

If you need a quick refreshment, for a few euros you can have a handmade lemonade. 

Christmas in Napoli: TRADITION & HISTORY.

Shopping and lights in via Scarlatti, Vomero.

Shopping and lights in via Scarlatti, Vomero.

Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way!.  If you are reading this singing, no worries, you're not mad!, it's just the Christmas mood is on!. 

Christmas is definitely my favourite time of the year.  I feel that it brings my child side out and many happy memories.  All memories of my Naples of course!.  I can't imagine spending it away from my city, family and friends.  Napoli in December is absolutely beautiful and I know that many other cities are beautiful too with all the lights and decorations and people feeling festive on the streets, but trust me, Napoli is something else.  It's magical.  Here, people are not too stressed about shopping for presents because they know how important this time of year is.  So the consumeristic side of it hasn't taken away the magic of Christmas.  In Napoli, Christmas means being with your family and all the people you love the most, eating loads of food, drinking wine, playing games and visiting relatives (even if we can't stand them!).  I know that this is how most people spend their Christmas days as well, but in Naples there's something more.  It's a feeling, an experience, a magical atmosphere extended through out all the city.  It's not easy to explain, that's why I always suggest coming to Napoli in this period to see for yourself.  This is the time where all our deepest traditions come to life.  There are many of them.  Too many to talk about on this blog, but I will tell you about some of the most important ones.

Presepe in a shop in via Tribunali.

Presepe in a shop in via Tribunali.

Typical characters of the Nativity scene. Details of the Presepe in the Cathedral of Naples..

Typical characters of the Nativity scene. Details of the Presepe in the Cathedral of Naples..

 

One is the Presepe.  It consists of the Nativity scene and in almost every neapolitan home or church there is one.  We create the scene of the birth of Jesus in a complex installation of an imaginary village with all the figures (pastori) of every size and colour, sometimes with real lights and water for the fountains and lakes.  It's a place where time and culture, religion and history collide in one small universe.  You can even find figures of a pizza maker or a butcher near the Holy Family!.  And this is how we think of the Presepe.  Even if it is an old tradition, it can be still modern.  Neapolitans for centuries have passed on this tradition, from royalty to the poor people, loved by young and old.  

Always remember to put the statue of the little Jesus in the presepe at midnight and not before!.

Details of the Presepe in San Lorenzo Maggiore church.

Details of the Presepe in San Lorenzo Maggiore church.

If you are in Napoli in December you can't missing going to San Gregorio Armeno also known as Christmas Alley.  See the map underneath for location.

 
San Gregorio Armeno.

San Gregorio Armeno.

Situated in the old town, this is not just a simple street lit up for Christmas.  It's much, much more.  It's where all the workshops of the Presepe display their incredible creations that they have been working hard on, all year long.  In fact, San Gregorio Armeno is open all year round and visitors can admire the immense installations and statues, which sometimes are more like proper works of art and be quite expensive as well.

Little pieces of Presepe on a stall in San Gregorio Armeno.

Little pieces of Presepe on a stall in San Gregorio Armeno.

Have I mentioned the massive range of food and drinks yet?.  Well, yes Christmas more than ever is the time to eat specialities of the neapolitan cusine, always in abundance, like it was the end of the world!.  Appetizers, starters, antipasti, pasta, fish, desserts, any sort of chocolate pandori, panettoni and much more. 

Food at the Cardillos!

Food at the Cardillos!

In many families, like mine, Christmas Eve is more important than the actual day of the 25th.  You wait all year for this moment of calm, where every problem is forgotten.  At least for one night!.  Am I too romantic for your taste?.  Yes, I know, but I can't help it.  I was born in Napoli and we live like that.  

If you are christian, you go to the midnight mass, otherwise you are at home waiting for midnight, playing all sorts of games, losing or winning some money (in general, I always tend to lose!).  

Tombola.

Tombola.

The most popular game is Tombola.  It's more or less like bingo, every number has a meaning (a lot of them with a sexual reference!).  Tombola was invented in 1734 during the reign of King Charles III of Bourbon.  It consists of a triangular basket (panaro) that holds 90 numbers and the cards (cartelle) to play with.  There is also the femminielli tombola.  Femminielli is a neapolitan terms to indicate homosexual with femminine gender expression which was believed to bring luck.

 

If you are planning to come during the Christmas holidays there are also concerts in many churches in the old centre like in San Giovanni Maggiore, at the Academy of music in San Pietro a Maiella and at the Cathedral.  Which is a very evocative thing to do if you want to enjoy classical music in medieval and baroque churches.  All the events are free.

What makes it magical in the streets on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are the zampognari, musician shepherds playing one of the most famous Italian carols 'Tu scendi dalle stelle' (You Come Down From the Stars) with bagpipes and a piffero, which is a kind of small oboe.  In general the musicians are always in pairs, going around the streets, often to raise money for charity.  The origin of the zampognaro is not very clear, it certainly comes from the folkloristic music from central and southern Italy.  The zampognari is a popular character used in the Presepe, often placed next to the Christ child so to play him a sweet lullaby in this holy and cold night of December.      

As I previously said, I fully recommend going to Naples at Christmas time if you can.  Plan your journey far in advance, in August or September, as prices can be very expensive nearer the time.  But believe me, it's really worth it.  I hope you will enjoy it like I do!.

Buon Natale everybody from the Girl from Naples!

WHAT'S ON IN DECEMBER - outside Napoli!

December 2015 decorations in Salerno, Luci d'Artista (Artist's Lights).

December 2015 decorations in Salerno, Luci d'Artista (Artist's Lights).

In my previous blog I mentioned all the activities going on in December in Napoli.  But there are also many more things to do in the areas outside of Napoli.  

One of the most popular and amazing experiences are the lights in Salerno.  Salerno is a city about an hours drive south of Naples.  It is also has a mainline train station.  It's more than just a city with standard Christmas decorations.  Artists Lights (Luci d'artista) is an event that has been going on for many years. The whole city is decorated with amazing light displays which last from November 5th until January 22nd.  It is very popular and so very busy, but it is definitely worth the visit!.  

 

The old town turns into a wondrous labyrinth, a secret garden of magical trees with flowers coming out from the windows of the houses, and flying carpets hanging above our heads.  There is a park which is transformed by famous scenes from the Disney movies.  Alice in Wonderland, Pinocchio's whale, Cinderella's pumpkin coach and the stunning captain Hook's galleon.  Describing it doesn't do it justice, but I strongly recommend going.  

For more info about Salerno and how to get to it, check their website out - Comune di Salerno 

This year there are also new Christmas markets and a presepe (nativity) created completely in sand, a giant ferris wheel and several concerts.  As in the past, the decorations follow a theme and this year the theme is 'The Christmas, The Myth, The Dream and The Time'.  

The giant whale from Pinocchio.

The giant whale from Pinocchio.

The Alice in Wonderland garden.

The Alice in Wonderland garden.

 

Sorrento is a popular holiday destination in December as well as in the summer.  I'm not surprised because Sorrento is charming and elegant all year round.  The city at Christmas is absolutely stunning, starting from the Christmas tree in the main square, piazza Tasso and all the decorations around the restaurants, bars and alleys and the cloister of San Francis.  There are many events, concerts, street food stalls, Christmas markets and much more.  Also very atmospheric are the classical and jazz concerts in the Cathedral and in many other churches.  For the full program of events check the website of the Comune di Sorrento.

Pompeii is not only a historical place to visit for the roman city, but during Christmas the modern town hosts events and concerts with some big names of the Neapolitan music scene.  There is also jazz, world and mediterranean music, as well as exhibitions of presepi, ancient roman cooking demonstrations, carols from the Renaissance times and visits to Babbo Natale's (Santa Claus) house.  All the events are for charity to help raise money for the people who's homes were destroyed by the earthquake in central Italy this year.  For more info & contacts visit the website of the Comune di Pompei

If you haven't visited the stunning Royal Palace in Caserta this is a good time to go.  The admission fee will only be €3 from the 7th of December until the 6th of January.  During this period there will be an amazing light show through all the palace including the fountains and lakes made by the artist Francesco Capotorto.  Info here - Reggia di Caserta

On the island of Ischia, tradition and modernity meet.  There will be music on the beaches, Christmas carols in the old town, artists performances, living presepi and codfish will be cooked on the streets.  Don't forget that Ischia is famous for its spas since the Roman times.  It could be a good present to yourself!  For more info check the official website of the Comune di Ischia.

If you are a Christmas market lover you shouldn't miss the ones around the Campania region, in the other towns and villages in the countryside and along the coast.

Bacoli is a lovely city located about 15km west of Naples and will hold a Christmas village in the centro storico, with handicraft shops, food and local wine stands.  There will also be a Babbo Natale house and street artists and music sessions. 

The lovely medieval village Sant' Agata dei Goti, near Benevento, is ready to welcome tourists by lighting up it's Christmas Grotto, where all the small yards, gardens and houses will reveal their secrets and mysteries through the night. 

At the magical castle of Limatola, near Benevento, there is a Christmas market where there are stands with local products, food, home decorations, nativity scenes, presepi, antiquities and much more.  The market will be open every day from 10 in the morning until midnight.

As you can see, there is a great choice of atmospheric events in all the Campagnia Region and most of them are free.  What more can you can ask for?.  The food and drink are heaven and in every place there is something that you will never ever find anywhere else.  What are you still doing at home?.  If it is too late for this year, it might be a good idea for next year.  Travelling is always a good present.  And if you travel to Campania, it is even better!   

 

 

 

Christmas tree in Salerno.

Christmas tree in Salerno.

WHAT'S ON IN DECEMBER?

San Gregorio Armeno.

San Gregorio Armeno.

Napoli is a great city to visit during the Christmas holidays.  Of course, it's good to visit anytime of the year, but in December there's an amazing vibe.  If you are going, or thinking about going to Naples in December, here is all the info on what's going on in the city in December.  If not, well, maybe now's a good time to plan a trip for next year!

San Gregorio Armeno.

San Gregorio Armeno.

You can feel Christmas in every corner of the city, from San Gregorio Armeno to the promenade.  This year more than ever is going to be stunning.  First of all, there are going to be many activities from the 8th December, the official date for the opening of the season.  

 

 

This year the main attraction is the giant 'N'albero, a Christmas tree formed of three terraces and more than 30 metres tall, situated at the Rotonda Diaz by the promenade.  In the bottom section which is free to enter, there are art galleries, shops, restaurants, a bistro and an american bar, where it is possible to taste any kind of food, from the traditional neapolitan to sushi.  At the top section there is the breathtaking panoramic terrace overlooking the bay of Naples.  There is an admission fee for the top section which has not been confirmed, but will be around €8 and will be open from 10 in the morning until 10 at night.  It will be accessible by lifts.  During the weekdays it will be possible to attend yoga classes, live music sessions and other various events and will be visible from all the gulf and the islands.  It will be open from December 8th everyday until February 8th.

Decorations all around Napoli: via dei Mille.

Decorations all around Napoli: via dei Mille.

Not only the promenade is going to shine but also the old town (centro storico).  Here, on December 10th there is going to be "The Night of Art", which In Italian is Notte d'Arte - 2016 NutriMenti, culture e cibo nella storia dei popoli, which literally means 'feed the mind' and will be a series of cultural and gastronomical activities of every aspect of the neapolitan tradition and history and will take place in all the squares, shops, museums, churches and cloister gardens all night long.  Particularly interesting are the non-stop concerts at the church of San Pietro a Majella.  

Do you need another reason to visit Napoli?.  Well, I will give you another one; all these activities in the Notte d'Arte will be free and I bet, very busy.  But that's the beauty of Napoli: every experience is best only when you are sharing the joyful moment with other neapolitans and visitors.

There will be Christmas decorations at the entrance of the train station in Piazza Garibaldi where there will be an exhibit of the first presepe completely in ice.  It will be on display from December 6th until January 8th and will be absolutely unique in all the world.  The ice presepe has been carved from 20 tonnes of ice. 

There will be also be a tour around the secrets and mysteries of Naples, looking for ghosts and legends in the heart of Napoli.  Tickets for the tour are €8 (€5 reduced, free for kids under 12 years old) and will start at the church of Santa Maria la Nova.

 

Loads of things to do then!.  I hope you will enjoy your Christmas in Napoli and come back very soon!

In the meantime....decorations in Casa Cardillo! 

In the meantime....decorations in Casa Cardillo! 

The new installation of N'Albero by the promenade.

Egypt in Napoli.

Entrance of the Egyptian Collection at the level -1.

Entrance of the Egyptian Collection at the level -1.

In October 2016 the galleries of the Egyptian Collection at The Archeological Museum in Naples reopened to the public.  Situated in the basement, at level -1, it is an interesting opportunity to discover ancient life by the Nile.  The collection is the second most important in Italy after Turin. 

It was started in 1821 by Cardinal Stefano Borgia who collected and archived several objects from Egypt.  Today it counts about 2500 Egyptian artefacts datable to Early Dynastic and Byzantine Periods (3000 BC - AD 640).  

The new permanent exhibition explores all the different aspects of Egyptian life in the following sections; Men and Pharaohs, Tombs and Grave-goodsMummification, The Magical and Religious Word, Scriptures, Jobs, Egypt in Campania and the Epigraphic section

 

The most interesting part, in my opinion, is the Mummification section.  The star of the section is the crocodile, remarkably preserved in its original bandaging of fabric and palm leaves.  Next to the crocodile are two baby crocodiles.  In ancient Egypt, crocodiles were connected to the god Seth or to the god Sobek.  The crocodile was a holy animal and was cared for, decked with jewelry and treated with devotion until it's death and then buried in holy ground.  Another interesting aspect of the mummification section is the preservation of body parts separately, like heads and feet, which are on display but I have avoided to put the pictures in as they look quite creepy!.

Egyptians were very fashionable. Most of the sophisticated jewellery found inside the tombs are not too far away from a bracelet or earring from a trendy shop on the high street. 

In the following halls are exhibited the beautiful statues of Kings and gods and it is really interesting to see how powerful Pharaohs were, treated like gods in life and in death.  The last section of the gallery is dedicated to Egyptian documents.  Thanks to those long rolls of papyrus, we now know how Egyptians used to live, their relationships with gods and religion and much more.

Visiting the Archeological Museum is a MUST when you come to Napoli, so I will very soon write about other sections and about the building itself, as it is one of the oldest Archeological Museums in the World. 

DSCF9633.JPG
The Epigraphic section at the Archeological Museum.

The Epigraphic section at the Archeological Museum.

Museo Archeologico Nazionale - Piazza Museo 19 - 80137 Napoli. Tel: +39 06 39967 050           

Tickets: € 12 / Reduced € 6 / Evening entry € 2  - Promotions are applied to Trenitalia and Frecciarossa costumers, see the website. 

Opening hours: Every day except Tuesdays 09.00 - 19.30.  Closed December 25th and January 1st.

 

Pizza Experience for the Addicted!

Pizzeria al 22, Via Pignasecca 22, 80134 - Napoli

Pizzeria al 22, Via Pignasecca 22, 80134 - Napoli

As soon as you land in Napoli you can already smell the pizza!  Yes, I'm not joking!.  As a welcome to the city there's the first pizzeria already at the arrivals exit.

My husband actually still believes that neapolitan children (especially me!) are born in a pizzeria. You can't explain otherwise our insane love for pizza!.  I am not a scientist myself, but I can certainly prove that eating one pizza per day helps to keep you fit and healthy.  You can't argue with simple ingredients like tomato, olive oil and basil.  It's good for your wallet (posh food but affordable) and mainly for your mood.  It tastes so good and satisfying.  It means love yourself and the others.  That's why 'going out for a pizza' is the most common social activity in Napoli, almost a spiritual moment.  A philosophy of life.

If your mouth is already watering just at the idea of eating a pizza, guess what it would be like to make your very own pizza!

Pizza maker on the job.

Pizza maker on the job.

The guys at Pizza Experience have some courses running in Napoli in November and December. Its a complete full immersion course to help you understand the tradition and history of this popular food.  Well, not to mention that you will be able to make your own pizza from scratch with all the traditional ingredients and prepare the dough in the famous traditional way by hand.  I haven't personally done these courses so I can't comment on them, but if anyone is interested here is some of the info they sent my way.

Making pizzas at Pizzeria al 22.

Making pizzas at Pizzeria al 22.

The first of these two workshops "Fatte 'na Pizza" (Have a pizza) will be held every Sunday of November in association with Pizzeria Al 22.  Participants will be welcomed by Giovanni Improta, descendant of a family of pizza makers and will have four hours to make their pizza and at the end to taste the result together with a selection of typical Neapolitan food, local wine and beers. 

In December (from 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 27, 28, 29 and 30) the workshop will be Take a look at that pizza in Rosario Piscopo’s Pizzeria.  Here she will reveal secrets, tips and techniques for a proper pizza.  At the end participants can eat the food freshly made, discuss food and traditions and have a really fun time.

Education of the pizza means to know how to taste and appreciate its flavours. Once that you have tried a real neapolitain pizza there's no way back and you will never ever look at your frozen pizza from the supermarket the same way!

Courses will be held in the pizzerias, closed to the public only for this occasion, in English, Italian and Neapolitan. At the end the participants will receive a certificate of attendance, a personalized apron, a typical Neapolitan keepsake and not least the energy and the Neapolitan life philosophy!.

 

Itinerary of the courses:

'Fatte 'na Pizza'

Welcoming Neapolitan style Coffee;  Presentation of the Neapolitan pizza - Historical overview from the beginning until today;  Selection of the raw materials and description of the basic equipment; Demonstration and preparation of the dough made by hand;  Insights on the leavening and maturation process;  Preparation of the wood-fired oven and baking of your own pizza in order to eat it folded in four;  Tasting at the table of three Neapolitan pizzas paired with beer, wine or soft drink;  Presentation of the attendance certifications and gadget gifts with souvenir photo;  Final toast.

Min 2 - Max 12 people.

Duration: 4hrs (tasting included)

Sunday, 6-13- 20-27 November 2016 - Schedule 2017 on www.pizzaexperience.it

10.00 to 14.00

€ 75,00 per person (a launch price just for the Sundays in November)

€ 65.00 children from 6 to 16 years

Free for bambini from 0 to 5 years

www.pizzaexperience.it - info@pizzaexperience.it - tel: +39 345.1049203

Pizzeria Al 22, Via Pignasecca 22, 80134 - Napoli

 

'Take a look at that pizza'

Presentation of the Neapolitan pizza - Historical overview from the beginning until today;  Selection of the raw materials and description of the basic equipments;  Demonstration of a dough prepared by hand made by the Master pizza maker;  Insights on the leavening process and preparation of the pizza;  Tasting of mix fried food and traditional pizzas paired with beer, wine or soft drink;  Presentation of the attendance certifications and gadget gifts;  Final toast.

Min 6 - Max 28 people

Duration: 2hr30mins

Thursday and Friday from 17.00 to 19.30

Saturday and Sunday from 10.00 to 12.30

December 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 27, 28, 29 and 30 - Schedule 2017 on www.pizzaexperience.it

€ 39.00 per person

€ 34.00 children from 6 to 16 years

Free for bambini from 0 to 5 years

www.pizzaexperience.it - info@pizzaexperience.it - tel +39 345.1049203

Pizzeria Rosario Piscopo, Via Egiziaca a Pizzofalcone 100, 80132 - Napoli

 

Apprentices.

Apprentices.

Caravaggio in Napoli.

When you look at Caravaggio's paintings you are also looking at Napoli. It is in the chiaroscuro, the contrast between the dramatic darkness and light, in the visceral depiction of bodies, dirty hands, expressive faces which are taken directly from the poor streets of Napoli.

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571-1610) visited Napoli twice, in 1606 on the run from a murder charge in Rome and in 1610, just before his death on the way back to Rome.  Napoli was a part of the Spanish Empire at that time and the city was a vibrant cultural and economic centre due to its important port.  Many artists from all over Europe were attracted to the city by the commissions for the many churches and cathedrals.

In Napoli Caravaggio painted The Madonna of the Rosary (now at the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna), The Flagellation of Christ (now at the Museo di Capodimonte, Napoli) and the stunning Seven Works of Mercy for the high altar of the Church of Pio Monte della Misericordia, which still stands today, together with the painting in its original position. This is definitely one of my favourite Caravaggio paintings.  The architecture of the church seems to be constructed around the painting in a silent devotion to the artist. Caravaggio gave to Napoli one of his most breathtaking masterpieces.  The painting is an image of the city where he tried to find comfort in a desperate time of his life.

Pio Monte della Misericordia was an institution founded by a group of noblemen dedicated exclusively to acts of human charity.  The word misericordia means mercy.  Caravaggio, portrayed in the painting the seven acts of physical mercy, which are; to bury the dead, visit the imprisoned, feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, clothe the naked, visit the sick and refresh the thirsty.

The scene is a revolutionary vision.  All the acts are taking place in a mysterious dark neapolitan vicolo (alley) in the lower part of the painting, whilst in the top part are two floating angels supporting the Madonna of Mercy with Child.

Caravaggio was very successful and famous in Napoli, however after a few months he decided to leave the city and ended up in Malta with the Knights of St John and then Sicily.  

He finally returned to Napoli in 1610 on the way to Rome, in order to receive forgiveness from the Pope for his misdeeds. This is when he  painted The Denial of Saint Peter, (now at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York) and John the Baptist (now in Villa Borghese, Rome) and his last masterpiece Martyrdom of Saint Ursula, which has recently been attributed to him. This is the last dramatic painting of a unique artist.  From the dark background, figures emerge in a silent procession of human bodies, the Saint and villains all together.  Even Caravaggio himself participates in the scene, just behind Saint Ursula's head. The flesh is so pale in contrast with the black and the red of the clothes. 

For sure, Caravaggio understood Napoli and the neapolitans like no other painter and after him the artistic life in Napoli would never be the same.  He left behind a very prolific Caravaggesque movement with Neapolitan artists who kept alive his style, painting subjects that Caravaggio himself made popular.  Artists like Mattia Preti, Salvator Rosa, Joseph de Ribera and Battistello Caracciolo, who was considered to be one of his truest followers.

Running until 15th January 2017 at London's National Gallery is the exhibition Beyond Caravaggio.  It's worth visiting as there are many references to Napoli and Neapolitan artists which will make you understand better his his life and his connection with Napoli.

 

Where to see Caravaggio in Napoli: 

Pio Monte della Misericordia, via dei Tribunali, 253 - 80139 Napoli. Tel. +39 081 44 69 44 / Tickets: €7 / Reduced: €5

Opening hours:  Mon - Sat, 09.00 - 18.00 / Sun 09.00 - 14.30

 

Museum of Capodimonte, via Miano, 2 - 80131 Napoli. Tel. +39 081 74 99 154 / Email. mu-cap@beniculturali.it / Tickets: €8 / Reduced: €4

Opening hours:  Every day except Wednesdays, 08.30 - 19.30

 

Palazzo Zevallos Stigliano, via Toledo, 185 - 80132 Napoli. Tel. +39 800 454 229 / Email. info@palazzozevallos.com / Tickets: €5 / Reduced €3  

Opening hours:  Mon closed, Tue - Fri 10.00 - 18.00  / Sat - Sun 10.00 - 20.00