CHANGE UNIVERSE: Magazine Jewels
Naples | Art & CultureSeptember 24, 2007

Napoli, City of Tradition

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On the aliscafo from Capri, before my six o'clock plane to Brussels, I realize I have got a few hours to kill in city of Naples.

I say goodbye to my friends who are heading straight to the airport for Brazil, and with my suitcase on a line for a taxi, I search for a smart driver that will understand my personal needs for the afternoon.

The driver's name is Raffaele -- "Lello". I explain to him that I would like to see a museum with 16th  Century art, heavy Neapolitan canvases; that I would like to eat something, and that I need to take some pictures in the extremely famous narrow Spaccanapoli in the historic center to feel the city's art expression and living heritage.

Like a local James Bond he feels he is on a very important mission, but not impossible for a Napolitano. After negotiating a fair price for both he decides that before anything, we need to have a pizza at the famous Trianon, apparently the best and most traditional pizzeria in town.

After quickly crossing the impressive Umberto Primo Galleria filled with marble floor mosaics where I took some shots, we arrive in Via Pietra among churches, monuments, palaces and this two-floor restaurant filled with old mosaics wood ovens founded by the Leone Family in 1923.

As soon as I sit, I immediately order a Diet Coke with ice and lemon (the temperature is more that 90 degrees Fahrenheit outside) and a pizza Napolitana (I love anchovies and desperately need some salt because of the heat and the low blood pressure in my system). Gino the waiter and Lello-taxi- driver look at each other with shy excitation; I don't get it, when suddenly I hear a soft voice, Lello's whispering in my ear as if I have said something absurd "At Trianon, there is not such a thing as diet, ice, or lemon, and Napolitana is seriously not recommended. You see, this is a traditional pizzeria...but the waiter Gino will be happy to serve us a traditional coke and a pizza Margherita because it's the first time you come here and this is what we need to eat."

"Fine," I say, I am hungry anyways. While the most incredible hot pizza arrives, I hear the story of the Pizzaiolo of the Leone family that "betrayed" the house and went to create the same pizza at Michele 's right in front of the Trianon. Obviously all city inhabitants know very well that he is the "master" even if the white-hot wood fired brick oven is built exactly within the same dimensions, the peeled tomatoes are both San Marzano, the dough is secretly prepared at night with a special water that comes from a... the wooden paddle shape unaltered, the inevitable newly made fresh mozzarella of Buffala and the huge leaves of basil are part of the same basic dish composition. But Lello explains, "It's all about the pizzaiolo dexterity in shaping it up with a sharp movement."

Napoli tradition in its works of art and creations like the pizza must be its signature... Caravaggio, Titian and the Pizzaiolo have similar roles in the city's tradition: the ones of God whose creations must endure to the end of time.

Joelle's Picks:

The Museums:

Palazzo Reale di Capodimonte Via Capodimonte , n 24/ +39 0817499111/

Certosa di San Martino- Largo di San Martino, 5 / +39 081 57817 69/

Castel Sant' Elmo - Via Tito Angelini, 22 /+39 081 5784030 /

The Cafe: Gambrinus - Via Chiaia, 1/2/ + 39 081 4976022 /

The Pizza Place: Trianon, Via Pietro Colletta,42-44-46 /+39 081 553 94 26 /

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