Italy’s pizza-tasting menus that let you eat your way through Naples


Head to Naples, the birthplace of pizza, for an Italian tour that messes with tradition. Some master pizzaioli have elevated this humble treasure to tasting menu status.

A white truffle from Alba was shaved over butter-daubed dough, followed by a black truffle from Irpinia.

Having sat in the courtyard of the famed Naples pizzeria Concettina ai Tre Santi, I watched my server with wide eyes as my evening pizza marathon began.

A few minutes later, he returned with a plate layered with dark tomato sauce, basil leaves, and hand-grated parmesan cheese.

An upside-down montanara pizza with the sauce on the bottom, tied with a gingham napkin around my neck, was topped with a deep-fried puff of dough.

I began my pizza pilgrimage through Campania – home of the birthplace of the beloved dish. There I encountered bold innovators, such as Concettina’s Ciro Oliva, who took control of his family’s delivery business at only 19, with grand aspirations. In recent years, pizzaioli in Naples and its neighbouring areas have embraced a fine-dining concept by introducing tasting menus to pizza.

I toured Campania’s most revered outposts offering pizza-tasting menus over three life-affirming days to see how its cuisine is being elevated.

My journey began at Oliva’s restaurant in the Sanita neighbourhood of Naples, a rough-and-tumble neighbourhood centered around a cacophonous market street, which Time Out ranked as one of the 51 coolest neighborhoods in the world this year, partly because of the pizzaiolo in the neighborhood.

Oliva is a bombastic, high-energy Vesuvius-like character who distributes high-fives and talks up his pizza and neighborhood to the stars, dignitaries, and food lovers who flock to his gritty yet vibrant outpost.


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