In the world famous pizza culture of Naples (2023)

Franz Lidz; Photographs by Francesco Lastrucci

In the first weeks of the Covid-19 outbreak, reported the Roma newspaperThe paper ran a panic headlinethe proclaimed"the death of the kiss' (The Death of the Kiss). In the age of social distancing, Italians wondered if snogging would soon go the way of the Roman Empire. One hundred and forty miles along the coast, in Naples, where restaurants have been closed twice by prolonged lockdowns,The natives considered it a more existential threat:the death of pizza. Could the virus be the Neapolitan cake's kiss of death?

Faced with a financial crisis of Pompeian proportions, Naples pizzerias have adapted their centuries-old business models to the times, adopting once-blasphemous practices like home delivery and - God forbid! – Pizza kits a. “Eating pizza is not a Neapolitan norm that is being overthrown by the pandemic,” says Luca Del Fra, an official at the Italian Ministry of Culture. “Pizza is cheap, fast, that's Naples. Therefore, I doubt that the public will forget about it.

Naples is the birthplace – and, as any Neapolitan will tell you, the spiritual homeland – of pizza. In this southern Italian city of 963,000 inhabitants and 8,200 pizzerias, parents are said to want their children to be one of two things: soccer players for SSC Napoli or pizzaiolos, broadcast, or in the local dialect,pizza broadcast.

There are 15,000 pizzaioli in Naples, and the virtuosos are like pop stars, admired, even revered, with ardent supporters who rarely stop arguing over their favorite's place in the pizzaioli pantheon. “All Neapolitan pizza makers consider themselves the best in town, even if all their relatives are Neapolitan pizza makers,” says Francesco Salvo, whose grandfather, father and two brothers are also pizza makers. “The essence of Neapolitan pizza is the family that shares its passion. Its execution must be meticulous, because if you neglect quality, you will be betraying the family tradition, which is like betraying your wife.” The demanding standard of these pizzaioli is responsible for taking the perception of food from a humble pie to a... highly regarded cuisine is changed.

The classic Neapolitan pizza is as soft and fluffy as a basset hound's ears. It's chewy rather than crunchy, with a moist, if not soupy, top, copious amounts of burn ("leopard"), and a fluffy filling.Cornice, the pillow-shaped ridge framing the crust. The steaming crust is puffed to perfection in 90 seconds or less at around 900 degrees—nearly double the temperature of most American pizza ovens—and thinner than the plate it's served on.

Subscribe to Smithsonian Magazine now for just $12

This article is an excerpt from the March issue of Smithsonian Magazine

In the world famous pizza culture of Naples (2)

"What sets Neapolitan pizza apart the most is the ferocious heat it's cooked in and the soft, pliable softness of the dough," says Zach Pollack, chef and owner ofGood thing, a Naples-inspired pizzeria in Los Angeles. “It's all about the dough. When a cake is dough-centric like that, you get a completely different result than when the toppings are the focus of the event.”

Composed only of water, salt, yeast and highly refined wheat flour, Neapolitan pasta is the most basic of formulas, but the apparent simplicity hides great complexity. The Maestros let the dough ferment between 12 hours and several days. The only things that keep it from flying over their heads are chunks of buffalo mozzarella that ooze gently from the swamps of the southern Apennines and chunks of fleshy tomatoes grown in the volcanic soil of Mount Vesuvius. This combination of bright acidity and cheesy sweet smoothness inhabits that flavor space the Japanese callumami, or pleasant salty taste. A Neapolitan pie should be eaten fresh and hot, as close as possible to the igloo-shaped oven in which it was cooked.

Perhaps the most important virtue of cake isdigestibility(Digestibility), a charming term for easy-to-eat pizzas that your body takes in with apparent ease. While few American pizzerias reach these lofty heights, most Americans buy their pizzas frozen or eat them from pie chains that they burn and churn. The dough was sped up with sugar to make it rise quickly, and a frothy sea of ​​cheese and meat was piled on top of undercooked or crumbly rubbery crusts sometimes found on the same pizza. (The quality of the tomato sauce? No consideration.) "Honestly, what passes for pizza abroad is often a farce," lamented Neapolitan pizza maker Ciro Moffa. "Enough already!"

Neapolitan pizza is not just a source of epicurean indulgence and civic pride; his production has been considered art recognized by Unesco, the cultural arm of the United Nations, for four yearshighit has been declared an “intangible cultural heritage” alongside practices such as Indian yoga, South Korean tightrope walking and ritual Burundi royal drum dancing. Ironically, the precious "intangibles" of Naples become tangible every day in virtually every major city in the world. But despite dozens of regional adaptations (think New Jersey tomato pies, New Haven "Apizza," Provel cheese and St. Louis crackers), no variation, however delicious, is as central to the local culture. how much pizza is certainly in demand. Naples.

“Pizza is firmly rooted in community life here,” says Gino Sorbillo, whose eponymous Pizzapalast in Naples has branches in Milan, New York, Rome, Tokyo, Miami, Genoa and soon Abu Dhabi. "It's the gentle heat of the Mediterranean sun. It's the violence of Vesuvius. It's the great moments of humanity that the city offers at every corner. In Naples, pizza is more than food: it's people's identity.”

400 years ago, Caravaggio revolutionized painting with a chiaroscuro style that reflected the splendor and grime of Naples - glitter and light contrasting the darkness of deep, sinister shadows. "It's a dark and enchanted city," American actor and director John Turturro told me. His 2010 documentarydedicationis an enchanting celebration of Neapolitan music. "When Odysseus' ship stopped nearby, returning from the Trojan War, the sorceress Circe mixed a magic potion that turned most of her crew into pigs. Today, the natives call her hometownThe witch– The Witch – and say: 'Come to Naples, go mad and then die.' They are fatalists, but the coffee and pizza have to be perfect.”

* * *

Sprawling and endlessly alive, Naples combines gleeful confusion with a sense of mild danger. The city's bad reputation stems from its recent history of rubbish dumps, relentless traffic and looting by one of Italy's oldest organized crime syndicates, the Camorra, whose mopeds are dotted aroundthugsApproach the wrong way through the medieval maze of one-way streets. Along these narrow streets, wrought-iron balconies drip wreaths of faded linen, and the walls are buried under layers of posters, graffiti and dirt.

Perched in the belly of Old NaplesAntica Pizzeria Port'Alba, the oldest pizzeria in the world. Port'Alba was founded in 1738 as an open-air stall for peddlers who fetched their cakes from the city's bakeries and kept them warm in small upside-down tin-lined copper ovens. The stall was extended into a restaurant with chairs and tables in 1830, replacing many of the street vendors. Twelve years later, Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies, also known as King Nasone (Big Nose), came to the pizzeria incognito to gauge the mood of its people. "Probably the king orderedwith olive oil and tomatosays Gennaro Luciano, the current owner. This is the pizza with tomato sauce, oil, oregano and garlic that is commonly calledmarinara, derived fromdie Marinara, the fisherman's wife, who used to prepare the dish for her husband when he returned from trawling in the Bay of Naples.

In the world famous pizza culture of Naples (3)

Luciano is a sixth-generation pizza maker with a waddling charm and an avidly disheveled style. "Baking Neapolitan pizza is no acrobatics," he says categorically. "No flipping, no juggling, no DJing, just the art ofProcessinghow the dough is worked.” This art influences every aspect of Luciano's technique, from kneading to flattening (he says it was the doughbeggars, "crushed") for the bubble and hint of a cake crown.

He explains it between bites of pizzaWallet, literally a "wallet pizza" folded in half and then into quarters. Since the tomato sauce has been collected and protected in the folds, Luciano recommends keeping the pie off the front of the shirt. Port'Alba claims to have invented this portable street food and has stocked the 8-inch mini cakes in a display case at the entrance for nearly three centuries. "Without the window, Pizzeria Port'Alba would no longer be Pizzeria Port'Alba", says Luciano. “Customers came to buy the Portafoglio when they were students; now they are returning with their grandchildren”.

In the world famous pizza culture of Naples (4)

Luciano is 59 years old and has been making pizza for 46 years. It's filled with an endless supply of pizza stories, which he sells more or less continuously for hours, stopping only to stoke the fire behind Port'Alba's lava-lined oven with twigs and small pieces of oak. He says that not far from his pizzeria, in the Greco-Roman ruins under the cloister of San Lorenzo Maggiore, are the remains of a Roman market from the 1st century AD, a shopping arcade and a Proto-Neapolitan pizza oven. Similar baking chambers with cavities to isolate hot air, drafts for smoke, and terracotta floors have been found in excavations near Pompeii and Herculaneum. Some contained loaves preserved in charcoal, covered with ash and stamped to identify the baker. A 2,000-year-old loaf of bread was divided into eight slices and inscribed: Celer, slave of Quintus Granius Verus.

The history of pizza, says Luciano, dates back to the Neolithic period, when tribes would bake a raw dough on the stones of their bonfires. The Neapolitan variant was the product of two cultures, the Greek and the Etruscan. Greek city-states continued to celebrateposter, a flat, round cheesecake with a rim of crust that served as a handle of sorts. From the 8th to the 5th century BC. The Greeks colonized the coastal areas of southern Italy that made up Magna Graecia and brought their "edible dishes" with them. It has been speculated that pita, the English word for a flat, hollow, unleavened bread, had etymological roots inchosen, the ancient Greek term for "fermented pastry", which in turn passed into Latin asnut, also Pizza.

At the same time, says Lucian, the Etruscans left Asia Minor and settled in northern and central Italy. The forerunner of pizza dough was a type of porridge baked on stones under ash and topped with herbs and spiced oils. After the Romans swallowed the Etruscan folk tunes whole, they renamed the ash cakesFocaccia-Brot(cornmeal bread), which evolved into focaccia.

Luciano takes a tomato from a ceramic bowl, lifts it and sinks his teeth into the fleshy pulp. "That changed the face of flatbread," he says. "The tomato gave Neapolitans the right to claim pizza as ours."

In the world famous pizza culture of Naples (5)

In the early 16th century, Spanish conquistadors returned from the New World with an exotic, yellow, cherry-sized fruit that the Aztecs calledtomatl. Fear and disgust quickly followed. In 1544, Italian botanist and physician Pietro Mattioli was the first to officially classify the plant, comparing it to a hybrid of mandrake and nightshade - both poisonous. Soon the tomato was branded with the Latin nameLycopersicum, literally "wolf peach". Wolf for its alleged toxicity; Peach because of its shape and texture. It was common for wealthy people to get sick and die after eating tomatoes, and for about 200 years most Europeans avoided them like the plague, which, incidentally, nearly wiped out the population of Naples in the mid-16th century.

In the end, says Luciano, it was all a big misunderstanding. The wealthy subsisted on tin, an alloy rich in lead. Combined with the acidity of the tomatoes, the cutlery would release lead, sometimes resulting in the death of the guest. Already the poor used wooden dishes. "You can eat tomatoes and not get sick," he says. It wasn't until the invention of pizza, sometime in the early 17th century, that tomatoes began to gain wider acceptance.

The pizza took a little longer. Although it fed the poor of Naples, who substituted tomato sauce for meat, the tasty dish did not please everyone. Samuel Morse, inventor of the telegraph, described pizza, which he tasted on a visit in 1831, as "a sort of loathsome cake, not unlike a piece of bread "taken stinking out of the sewers".

The 19th century trifle makes Luciano laugh. The stove logs crackle constantly in a low, menacing murmur as he feels his way through the decrepit kitchen, occasionally lifting pie crusts to check that they are cooked through - bouncy but not mushy and not burnt like toast. "Pizza's magical breakthrough came in 1889," he says. "It was when Queen Margherita of Savoy, consort of King Umberto I, watched peasants in Naples enjoying the food of the people."

In the world famous pizza culture of Naples (6)

The queen is said to have summoned the city's most famous pizza maker, Raffaele Esposito, to the royal residence on Capodimonte Hill and had him prepare three pizzas for her. 28 years have passed since the unification of Italy, and the cake she liked best wore the colors of the new national flag: tomato red, mozzarella white and basil green. Her Highness was so pleased that she sent Esposito a letter of thanks. Esposito was so flattered that he named this tricolor sensation aftermargherita.

"At that moment, pizza took over the world", says Luciano.

* * *

The patroness of Neapolitan cakes is Sophia Loren, who grew up on the outskirts of the city. Her canonization was spurred by the 1954 filmThe Gold of Naples(The Gold of Naples), in which she played a saleswomanfried pizza, fried crescent rolls stuffed with ricotta and crispy chunks of fatty pork. Although Neapolitan pizza-making is dominated by men, after World War II pizzaioli wives played a key role in selling deep-fried pizza – the original pie that predates the oven-baked variety – to the poor. "Standing in front of an oven was a tedious task, so baking traditional pies was a man's job," explains Isabella De Cham, Naples' most famous pizza maker. "Instead of expensive mozzarella, fried pizza used common ingredients and was smaller, making it easier for women's hands to fold."

* * *

Die alte Pizzeria Da Michele, a shop, hides behind the 14th-century Duomo in the working-class neighborhood of Forcella. The spicy smell of basil and the aroma of hot dough precede the venue, two dining rooms guarded by a statue of Santo Antônio Abate, patron saint of bakers, enshrined in a neon-lit display case.

In the world famous pizza culture of Naples (7)

Da Michele is decidedly the most traditional of all Naples pizzerias. Paterfamilias Salvatore Condurro received his pizza-making license in 1870. He made and sold deep-fried pizza across the street from his house. Since 1930, when their son Michele opened the family's first pizzeria, the Condurros have been making marinaras and margheritas and nothing else. The waiters, whose white polo shirts read "The Temple of Pizza' (the temple of pizza), discarding all other wayspapocchie– Neapolitan slang for fake tricks.

Thirty-six years ago theTrue Association of Neapolitan Pizza(AVPN), founded by the 17 most distinguished pizzeria families in the city, created a protocol to promote and protect the reputation of "real Neapolitan pizza". Thus, any pizzeria wishing to display the association's logo - and in Naples only 125 (less than 2%) have succeeded - must make their marinaras and margheritas (the only official civic pizzas) with hand-kneaded dough (no rolling pins!), it should be flattened into a disk no more than 13.8 inches in diameter and baked in a wood-fired brick oven. The cornice should not exceed four-fifths of an inch.

In the world famous pizza culture of Naples (8)
In the world famous pizza culture of Naples (9)

For all its pizza purism, Da Michele's pizzaioli seem to wallow in disregard for convention. Instead of extra virgin olive oil, they use cheaper vegetable oil; Instead of mozzarella made with buffalo milk, they use a cow's milk alternative, which they say retains its soft texture better in the intense dry heat of ovens. Da Michele's amoeba-like pies are flooding the plate, and you're not sure whether to eat them or keep them as pets.

* * *

The Dalai Lama walks into a pizzeria and says, "Can you make me one of anything?"

Of all the chefs who concoct heavenly Neapolitan pizzas, none are as sophisticated as Enzo Coccia. His pastry academy in Naples' affluent Vomero neighborhood draws pilgrims from far and wide, all in search of red sauce enlightenment. Coccia student Daniele Uditi frompizzain Los Angeles, says no other chef is as analytical: "Enzo looks at pizza from an intellectual perspective. He changed the way modern pies are prepared and brought seriousness to the craft.”

The quiet, professorial Coccia, 58, delved into chemistry, anthropology and physics to better understand what he calls the "fine dance" of putting together a proper Neapolitan pizza.

"I can see a pizza from across the room and diagnose what's wrong with it," says Coccia. Neapolitan pizza, the manual he helped write in 2015, is full of animated entries like

“The amount of heat transferred from the bottom of the oven to the pizza is given by the equation:

Qcond = k A (Tb – Timp).“

Coccia started working at her family's trattoria near Napoli Centrale train station at the age of 8 and now runs the school and two pizzerias, most notably La Noticeia. He started the city's "New Pizza" movement in 1994 and was the first pizza maker to experiment with dough, using a variety of flours and long fermentation times. Among the surprising flavor combinations in its most avant-garde pies: eggplant and mint burrata; broad beans and asparagus; and lemon, licorice, and zucchini pesto. (Pepperoni, an American invention, is banned in Naples.)

However, he warns: “The pizza maker should not combine more first-class accompaniments than is absolutely necessary. A bad pizza maker who uses excellent raw materials will produce terrible pizzas, and a great pizza maker who uses bad raw materials will also produce terrible pizzas. Nothing is more important than the quality of the ingredients.”

Except maybe the cooking chamber. Coccia notes that Neapolitan pizza ovens have unique thermal properties that involve three means of heat transfer: conduction, convection, and radiation. The brick floor cooks the cake by direct contact or conduction. The curved interior circulates warm air through the chamber (convection) and heat absorbed by the masonry radiates out of the dome.

Radiant heat is what actually cooks the pizza, and because the heat waves come from many angles, the cooking surface temperature is not uniform. "Every oven has hot spots," admits Coccia. “The pizza maker should be familiar enough with the ins and outs of an oven to look at a pie and know where to move it next. No problem with a single pizza. But if four or five are baking at the same time, anyone who isn't a master is likely to incinerate them all.

Like many restaurants in Italy, Naples pizzerias have been hit hard by the pandemic. Many salons survived the three-month spring lockdown due to Cassa Integrazione, a government scheme that covers up to 80% of workers' wages for companies that apply and are accepted into the rescue scheme. The plight of pizzerias was also partially alleviated by a Heal Italy decree that suspended loan and mortgage payments to businesses and households thanks to state guarantees for banks and increased funding to help businesses pay laid-off workers.

Coccia reports that during the first wave of Covid-19, the money raised by the takeaway - deliveries were banned - wasn't even enough to cover its employees' wages, let alone its overhead. He estimates that his business is down about 75 percent. Prospects improved over the summer, but on Oct. 25, after deaths from the coronavirus in Italy tripled in a month, the state imposed a strict curfew: Restaurants were required to close at 6 pm. and could only offer takeout.

The pizzas Coccia has been making for home delivery during the second wave of the pandemic require lower oven temperatures and longer cooking times, resulting in a slightly drier cake. “We will continue with home and takeaway deliveries”, he says, “but always prioritizing customers at the table”.

I ask Coccia to name a Neapolitan pizza maker at the height of his profession. "Attilio Bachetti," he says without hesitation. "He makes the lightest, healthiest pizza there is."

In the world famous pizza culture of Naples (10)

Bachetti shaping the cakesAttilios pizzeriaSmiling but stern, he's a lovable obsession whose devotion to pizza is total. Son of a pizza maker, himself a pizza maker's son, he started learning at the age of 6. Today he is 56 years old.

Da Attilio is an unpretentious food sanctuary in the middle of Pignasecca's bustling market. You will be greeted at the door by Maria Francesca Mariniello, daughter-in-law of Attilio Bachetti, who opened the store in 1938, and mother of Attilio Bachetti, who now runs it. The walls are covered with newspaper clippings, celebrity photos and doodles framed on napkins, many of which show the chef shaping his precise and careful creations.

Bachetti says the secret to Da Attilio's fluffy crusts is "little yeast, lots of time." Its trademark is Carnevale, a baroque fantasy of tomatoes, sausages and coMilchcreme(Flor de Leite) Mozzarella with an eight-point crust rolled in sweet ricotta. Your other showstoppers:garden pizza, also eight points stuffed with grilled mushrooms and sautéed vegetables;Kosakenpizza, a marinara-margherita hybrid (mozzarella outside, shredded cheese inside); andKisses(kisses), spiral dough rolls stuffed with ricotta and provola and flavored with nutmeg and black pepper.

In the world famous pizza culture of Naples (11)
In the world famous pizza culture of Naples (12)

The precision of Bachetti's hand movements is impressive. He takes a ball of dough, swollen from a two-day exam, and drops it onto a lightly floured marble countertop. He gently squeezes with his fingertips from the center of the dumplings to the edges, massaging, tapping, stretching and gently twisting on himself. He spreads a few spoonfuls of tomato sauce over the dough, tops it with cheese and herbs, drizzles it with olive oil, and stretches the edges of the crust over the small, round pallet of apalin, a long-handled stainless steel shovel. Then he pushesMassain the glowing opening of the oven, gently turning the cake as it bakes. After a minute, he centers the palino under the crust and lifts it slightly to give the underside a final char, a technique known as doming.

On the path between the plate and the mouth, the bouncy threads of melted cheese seem to come to life. They are not, of course, although technically the crust was before browning.

* * *

Before arriving in Naples, Katie Parla, author ofSouthern Italian food, warned me, "Once you go to Pepe in Grani, you'll never be able to eat pizza anywhere else." For three consecutive years, Pepe in Grani - setting for pizza maker Franco Pepe - has been featured in the 50 Top Pizza Guide, a prestigious list voted the best pizzeria in Italy by Italian culinary heavyweights.

Los Angeles chef Nancy Silverton, cujaPizzeria Mozzais North America's premier sourdough operation, comparing Pepe's Pies to perfectly roasted marshmallows. "The perfect marshmallow isn't one that goes straight into the flame and burns," she says. “It takes patience to get close to a flame and get that nice caramelization. Franco achieved perfection through his mastery of pizza making. It almost feels like he invented pizza and the rest of us are just copying him.”

In the world famous pizza culture of Naples (13)

Working deliberately outside of Naples and the reach of the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, Pepe excels at breaking all the laws governing Neapolitan pizza. He makes outlaw cakes that triumph for them despite their worst wishes. On this mild Mediterranean night, Pepe dances happily, proudly and peacefully around his restaurant.Pepperoccupies a restored 18th-century palazzo in the ancient Roman town of Caiazzo, about an hour northeast of Naples. It is one block from his grandfather's bakery, which had no recipe, scale, clock or machine.

Purchased Pepes Family Hatby eye, guess at a glance. "Year after year, I watched my dad make money from scratch," he says. "He never wrote anything down for me. He didn't have to. I know instinctively how the dough should feel. Day after day, depending on the weather and humidity, I change the mix, the souring times, the amount of yeast. I never refrigerate the dough. Tactile experience teaches that when it is hard and needs bathing, when it is wet and needs flour, when it is ready to be stretched and no longer wants to be touched. Mechanical technology will not help. Dough is like a baby: you you have to listen carefully to understand what she wants.”

In the world famous pizza culture of Naples (14)

Obviously the masses want to stay at home. Pepe is the most notable refuser of takeout and delivery food. Since nearly all of his guests are out of town, he's decided to shut down operations until the restaurant can reopen. "The distance the delivery would have to travel is too long to enjoy the product - it would be ruined," he says. "I don't think pizza would 'hold'. My pizzas can only be eaten fresh.”

Pepe credits much of his success to his flour, part of which is milled from a native grain last grown in the region in the 1950s. He rejects the commercial flour prescribed by the AVPN. "To preserve established customs and practices, I source ingredients almost exclusively from local suppliers," he says with terse modesty. Cheese is made and onions grown just for him. He works with small farms to revive endangered heritage species like thesecurly tomato.genuine vernino, extra virgin olive oil, is made from centuries-old olive groves a few kilometers away; oregano comes from the nearby town of Matese; the sausage of a black breed of pig rescued from extinction around 20 years ago by pig farmers in the Caiazzo area. "I'm changing the future of pizza looking backwards," says Pepe.

In the world famous pizza culture of Naples (15)

A Neapolitan pizzaiolo is only as good as its margherita, and Pepe's are not worldly. Yourmargherita incorrect– like “Margherita Goes Wrong” – is a playful deconstruction of Raffaele Esposito's 19th-century cake. Instead of putting tomato sauce on a cheese crust and baking it, he just bakes the cheese and crust. When the white base comes out of the oven, he embellishes it with a basil reduction and a few graphic lines of tomato puree – a marriage of hot and cold, cooked and raw. You get the classic Margherita flavors turned upside down.

Pepe treats many of his specialties in the same way, putting individual toppings – fig compote, mortadella with crème fraîche – on the warmed cakes. Parla observes, "Each pizza is the result of careful planning, planting, production and harvesting that respects the rhythms of nature and imparts a flavor that simply transforms your attitude towards food."

* * *

If there's an age-old chef capable of taking Neapolitan pizza to the next level, it might be Ciro Oliva. The 28-year-old owner of Da Concettina ai Tre Santi pizzeria has a childlike, uninhibited manner and a bright, spontaneous smile. Her great-grandmother Concettina started out selling fried pizza in the same building in the city's picturesque Sanità area. “The entire store consisted of an oven and a window to distribute food to customers on the street”, she says.

In the world famous pizza culture of Naples (16)
In the world famous pizza culture of Naples (17)

Order Oliva's decadent 12-course tasting menu and he will personally serve you with detailed explanations of each experimental dish. The novelties range from pizza bagels to butter cakes, salmon and caviar, passing by "The Memory of Sunday", a miscellany of tomatoes, parsley and creamy mussel sauce. "You don't need forks or knives," advises Oliva. "Always eat with your hands."

Their response to the lockdown restrictions was to create four different pizza box kits: the standard Margherita; Salami; fried; and anchovies and black olives. There is one caveat in the DIY instructions: pre-made dough should not rise for more than 48 hours. Let the dough rise too much, warns Oliva, and the yeast will use up its gas-generating energy, leaving a dense, wilted cake.

In the world famous pizza culture of Naples (18)

He is a generous soul who genuinely cares about other Neapolitans in need. He pays for English lessons for neighborhood kids so they won't be tempted to join the Camorra. For about $3, Oliva will make a cake available for those who can't buy their own. According to a long-standing Neapolitan practice, if the customer is bankrupt, he delays payment for eight dayseight pizzas, or eight-day pizza.

The citizens of Naples live near a volcano which is a memento mori and an indication of the human condition. In a city with a penchant for light and shadow, optimism coexists with the sober reality of death. In this time of Covid, in which time seems to have stopped, perhaps no Neapolitan custom is as poignant as the "suspended pizza' (the suspended pizza), a form of generosity in which one pie is eaten and paid for by two, while the other is left for a less fortunate stranger. "No one should be denied a pizza," says Oliva. "It is the food of solidarity."

Francesco Lastrucci | KEEP READING

Francesco Lastrucci is an Italian photographer whose work has appeared inNew York Times, aWall Street Journalevanity fair, between others.


A longtime senior author onSports Illustratedand author of several memoirs, Franz Lidz wrote to theNew York Timessince 1983 in travel, television, film and theater. He is a regular contributorSmithsonian.

recommended videos

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Corie Satterfield

Last Updated: 02/10/2023

Views: 6385

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (42 voted)

Reviews: 81% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Corie Satterfield

Birthday: 1992-08-19

Address: 850 Benjamin Bridge, Dickinsonchester, CO 68572-0542

Phone: +26813599986666

Job: Sales Manager

Hobby: Table tennis, Soapmaking, Flower arranging, amateur radio, Rock climbing, scrapbook, Horseback riding

Introduction: My name is Corie Satterfield, I am a fancy, perfect, spotless, quaint, fantastic, funny, lucky person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.