First day, Friday, March 29, Naples

Where are we now?

The flight was half an hour late, but the journey was only an hour and a half. The weather has already improved at home, but here it is still a few degrees warmer and the mornings will not be so cool. Naples can truly be Italy’s dirtiest, most stinkiest and loudest city. After arriving at the accommodation, I went for a walk.

I found the famous pizzeria (L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele) from the movie Eat Pray Love, where one of the most delicious pizzas in the world is baked.

Giovanni and Dario, my Tandem Exchange twins, are originally from Naples. I cannot picture it. I cannot imagine shy, studious, sympathetic Giovanni as a young boy amongst this—and I don’t use the word lightly—mob.

But he is Neapolitan, no question about it, because before I left Rome he gave me the name of a pizzeria in Naples that I had to try, because, Giovanni informed me, it sold the best pizza in Naples. I found this a wildly exciting prospect, given that the best pizza in Italy is from Naples, and the best pizza in the world is from Italy, which means that this pizzeria must offer . . . I’m almost too superstitious to say it . . . the best pizza in the world?

Giovanni passed along the name of the place with such seriousness and intensity, I almost felt I was being inducted into a secret society. He pressed the address into the palm of my hand and said, in gravest confidence, “Please go to this pizzeria. Order the margherita pizza with double mozzarella. If you do not eat this pizza when you are in Naples, please lie to me later and tell me that you did.”

There was such a queue that I preferred to eat at the pizzeria opposite and that was also very good. Then I found pistachio, chocolate and coffee ice cream cubes in a pastry shop. Until now I thought I didn’t like coffee…

On the way home, I bought some food for the next day, because I am going to Pompeii by train.