Sunday, October 20, 2013

Italy in September - Part V Pompeii and Pizza in Naples

While on Amalfi Coast we took a one day trip to Pompeii. We drove our Fiat there. Drive was slow because of the windy roads. There was a parking lot right next to the ruins. Visit to Pompeii Ruins took us about 2 hours and we used Rick Steves' offered route to explore this ancient city.

Walking among the ruins is breathtaking. You cannot help but feel transported back in time when this used to be a lively city. It is amazing how well preserved ruins are. Few pictures below.

We walked passed the living rooms with painted windows on the walls, bathhouses, brick ovens, Egyptian temple, brothel, fast food joints.

Another interesting attraction is stray dogs that seem to be chilaxing everywhere.

After visiting Pompeii we decided to take a train to Naples for the Neapolitan pizza. We chose to leave our car parked near Pompeii Ruins and take a train to Naples. Train Station Pompeii Scavi is conveniently located next to the Ruins. Train ride was 40 minutes and cost less than 5 euro per person. It is a commuter train called Circumvesuviana.

Train ride is an experience as well. The outside has graffiti, inside is crowded with teenagers and workers coming from/to the suburbs, views include slums outside of Naples. Train Station area was dirty and full of street merchants selling fake Fendi and LV bags and sunglasses.

We walked to L'Antica Pizzeria da Michele - recommended by Rick Steves and by Eat, Pray, Love. We got there around 2 p.m. and saw a huge crowd outside. You can do a take out but we decided to take a ticket and wait for a table. The wait was about 1 and 40 minutes, which also included 30 minutes to be served inside. We just got there at a bad time - shift change.

There is a system in how they serve their customers. They let people in, take orders and then make everyone's pizza. Each pizza is in the oven no more than 2 minutes. There is a menu on a wall and they serve only two kinds of pizza: Margherita and Marinara.

Pizza had a distinct flavor but nothing mind blowing. Most people eat it with a fork and a knife. Pizza is 4-5 euro depending on how much topping you have. We had two pizzas, water and a beer for 12 euro - cheap eat!!!! And most importantly mission of tasting real Neapolitan Pizza in Naples is accomplished.

We walked back to the train station and took a 5 p.m. train back to Pompeii, left Pompeii around 6 p.m. and got back to Praiano after 7:30 p.m.

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