A Weekend in the Land of Pizza and Ruins- Naples and Pompeii

The weekend of Feb. seventh I visited Naples and Pompeii with my sister and her fiancé. My sister Theresa and I are very close so going this long without seeing each other is pretty hard. I had been counting down the days until they arrived and was very excited when my buzzer finally sounded and they greeted me by hauling four suitcases up a flight of stairs and into my apartment.

It is my sister’s fiancé’s first time in Europe so we wanted to make sure he got the full European experience. We wandered around Rome for a little and then it was off to the train station for our weekend trip!

We were lucky enough to be on a high speed train- going about 200 mph- so we arrived in Naples after a short one hour trip. We checked into our hotel, which we later found out was voted the second best hotel in Naples by a number of travel magazines. #Winning. After getting settled in just about the cutest hotel I have ever seen, we were off to paint the town and eat a lot of pizza. We were directed to Sorbillo’s pizza- one of the best in town according to the locals and several food magazines. We all got different pizzas and they all were unbelievable; I now know why Naples is known for their pizza. This was one of the best things I have ever eaten and amazed by the flavors and how fresh everything tasted.

This place was jam packed with a line around the corner. However, lucky for those of us who waited almost an hour for a table, there was a cute little outdoor wine bar next door where we sipped on 2 euro wine as an appetizer. However, a one hour wait or not, that pizza was worth it.

Outdoor wine bar
Outdoor wine bar
Margarita pizza with ricotta cheese
Margarita pizza with ricotta cheese

Also while we were waiting, we wandered across the street for some pre-dinner dessert. We instantly fell in love with the Gaffas (donuts) of Naples. Hot and fresh dough covered in granulated sugar and stuffed with white chocolate and Nutella. Yes this is real and yes it better than you can imagine. Safe to say we probably gained about 10 pounds during our trip- again, also very worth it.

White chocolate and Nutella filled Graffa
White chocolate and Nutella filled Graffa

After stuffing our faces with pizza, supplis (rice balls) and Graffas we called it an early night so we could get up early the next day to explore Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius.

Suppli
Suppli

Up bright and early on day two of our trip we bundled up with full rain gear because of course it decided to rain the day we have tours to go on. Our tour guide/driver was really sweet and very helpful when the weather ruined our plans. We were unable to climb the volcano but Pompeii was still on!

When I used to think of Pompeii, I thought of a tiny little town way back in history. Upon entering Pompeii I realized that this town was expansive, covering a large area of land. I also learned that besides the Lunapare (the famous brothel with a menu of sex positions on the wall for guests to choose from) this place had a lot more to offer. I tried to picture the streets filled with the town’s citizens and tried imagining children running through the green grasses or the council members holding meetings in the court. I learned from several tour guides that the people here were pretty advanced for their day and I was lucky enough to explore the hidden corners of the ruins.

The only good thing about touring on a Sunday in the rain is that there are very few people as crazy as you to stay out in the terrible weather. This was good for us because we may or may not have (I invoke my right against self incrimination) slipped under some of the do not enter signs and gotten lost in the off limits part of the ruins. Theresa and I explored the forbidden territory and were lucky enough to see even more of the extraordinary place that was tragically destroyed.

Exploring the off-limits area of Pompeii
Exploring the off-limits area of Pompeii

After hours of touring and several close encounters with angry umbrellas, our guide dropped us off at a new pizza place that he recommended. Let me preface the description of our lunch with this- the owner gave us pizza as an appetizer to our pizza. Pause for reaction. For a pizza addict such as myself, I was in heaven. Pizza number two was just as good as pizza number one, if not better. The ingredients sizzled with taste and with each bite I could taste the fresh produce, cheese and dough.

After eating the owner kindly asked us to help out his new restaurant and write a review about it, which you can find here. We were more than happy to do it, after all it was amazing pizza. He was so appreciative that he gave me my first real two-cheeked Italian kiss and my life has been forever made. After lunch we popped next door for some gelato and then we wandered the main streets of Naples and of course did a little shopping before heading back to our hotel for a much needed nap.

Pizza #2
Pizza #2

Revived and rejuvenated, we awoke, obviously, just in time for dinner. As our last official meal in Naples we wanted to have a nice relaxing dinner. We went to Vera Pizza, which my sister’s fiancé said was raved about on all of the travel sites; after two bottles of wine and three pizzas we understood why. Again, the ingredients melted in your mouth as you pictured someone picking the fresh tomatoes you were eating. After about a two hour dinner (we have come to learn that this, along with eating dinner at 10 p.m. is typical) we walked back to our donut shop from the first night, where the man operating it remembered us, and we each got our own graffas, which were just as amazing the second time. Then we went back to our hotel for some sleep so we could head home to Rome in the morning.

Sadly, the last pizza
Sadly, the last pizza

As sad as we were to be leaving this amazing place of donuts, pizza and history, going back to Rome wasn’t the worst thing.

The ruins of Pompeii
The ruins of Pompeii

“So long as you have food in your mouth, you have solved all questions for the time being.”- Franz Kafka

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