Me and My Pizza – by RCL

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© RCL

It was just me and my pizza. Finally face to face after so many dreams, conversations and tall tales of the glorious pizza napoletana, the best pizza in the world!

Travelling by train from Rome to Naples, my immediate goal was to find L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele as quickly as possible. I had been captivated by its legendary five generations of master pizzaioli (pizza makers) who gave meaning to life through the constant perfection of just two types of pizza – the Pizza Margherita and the Pizza Marinara. Even though I only had an hour and a half before work, I was determined to reach my objective. I would have just enough time to savour – if only for a few precious moments – pizza perfection.

It was my first time to Naples. I had lived in Italy for six years before moving to France and, during that time, I had unfortunately never visited this glorious city. Most Italians (including some Napolitani) advised me not to go because, in their opinion, it was full of thieves, mafia and trash. As a result, I went to Pompeii but completely skipped Naples!

I realized that was a huge mistake and was determined to correct it. After exiting the train station, I was met by a glorious sky of sunshine – surely a sign of pizza paradise! It took me about ten minutes to walk around a chaotic construction area, but after that it was only a ten-minute walk down Corso Umberto I to Via Cesare Sesale 1/3, home of L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele!

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© RCL

The place looks like your average Italian pizzeria, situated on an average Naples street, equipped with average, practical furnishings. So inconspicuous for such phenomenal pizza!

Once inside, I sat down by myself at a communal table in the front room. I thought I might be able to try one slice of Pizza Margherita (« normale ») but was immediately denied. They only serve whole pizzas. Idiot. I forgot I was in the promised land of pizza. Then the waiter asked me if I wanted something to drink and I said a glass of mineral water. They only have bottles. I asked for a small bottle. They only offer big ones. So, of course, a big one it was!

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© RCL

After sorting out the pizza and water, I settled into my chair and surveyed the surroundings. It seemed as if everyone there was focused solely on the pizza. I think that explained the unusually quiet Italian environment. It was also early, only 11:20 in the morning. Everyone – babies to grandparents – were focused on either ordering the pizza, making the pizza, clearing and setting tables for the pizza, waiting for the pizza, smelling the pizza, eating the pizza or paying the pizza bill. It was magnificent!

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© RCL

When mine came, it was love at first sight. My Pizza Margherita was a roughly oval frame animated by the shimmering colours of Italy – red, white and green – and offering bewitching smells and succulent flavours. With each mouthful of this magical mixture, I felt a tremendous sense of peace come over me. Everything to love about life had somehow been encapsulated in a basic combination of a few delicious ingredients. Da Michele pizza had undoubtedly proven that life is sensational and wonderfully well-nourished.

L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele : Via Cesare Sersale, 1 / 3 80139 Napoli / Tel. +39 081.5539204 // info@damichele.net / 4 EUR for pizza margherita “normale”, 2 EUR for big bottle of mineral water

About the author:

RCL is a “Random Chinese Lady.” The author is not random, nor Chinese and sometimes not very “ladylike,” but the adopted title fits well for such a misfit. RCL holds US and Italian citizenship and has settled in Paris with two lovely children. Her main aspiration is simple – to enjoy family and friendship through food!