Since this blog is going to be about budget travel, being a college student and all, I want to recommend a trip to Naples. I made it there from Rome with Bus2Alps which is a great company for students, they basically organize everything for you like transport and guides. If you go on one of the longer trips they organize accommodation and give you breakfast and things like that. My day trip to Naples was beautiful. It’s February so the weather is still a bit cold but sitting by the water basking in the sun makes you forget that you were just wearing a winter coat that morning. Naples was also cheaper than I expected, there are plenty of markets and vendors on the sidewalks that sell inexpensive wallets, belts, scarves, etc. Some of the museums do cost a few euros but if you’re trying to save money for the pub later that night or the next weekend trip there are plenty of old castles or churches that you can explore for free. We went to the Castel d’Ovo and the church of San Francesco di Paola. I have to say the highlight of my trip though was the pizza. I know it’s become a cliche that Naples is the world’s best pizza and that no other pizza can compare, but honestly, it’s true. They have gained that title and deserve it. We went to Da Michele, the place made famous by Elizabeth Gilbert and her book Eat Pray Love. It’s located on a side street in the city and is easy to miss. Luckily we were in a big group and someone spotted the tiny little “Da Michele” at the bottom of the sign.
We got a seat inside which I recommend but since it’s small it’s not always possible. We each ordered a medium Margherita pizza. The menu only has two choices, Margherita Pizza or Marinara Pizza if you don’t want the mozzarella. They don’t mess around with silly appetizers and trust me you wouldn’t be able to fit them in if they were offered. The beer is also the same price as a Coca Cola so do as the Italians do and enjoy your lunch with a refreshing cold brew.
The pizza’s are enormous and are shoved in the small wood burning oven in the back of the restaurant right as you order them so they’re placed in front of you minutes later. The margherita was thin and delicate, perfectly crisp and covered in an unbelievable layer of fresh marinara sauce. It wasn’t thick like you usually get on American pizza’s, it sort of moved around with a soupy consistency but that just helped it soak into the crust and blend with the melting mozzarella. Just a few leaves of basil are sprinkled on top to add the finishing touch. All together it is just a fresh, delectable bite of the essence of Italy. But of course I didn’t stop after one bite. When we walked in the restaurant I scoped out the attitudes of the locals and all of them had licked their plates clean so I was determined not to offend the chefs. The other girls with me stopped when they were full but I ate that whole damn pizza and loved it. When else am I going to have a chance to eat the perfection of pizza again? So if you ever make it to Naples, indulge a bit, lose yourself in a tiny hole in the wall, treat your tastebuds to an amazing meal for only 5 euros, and maybe wear stretchy pants.