We’re not shy about our love for either the city or the food of Naples. But we know that not everyone has time to spend a day or two there—and that others prefer Italy’s more traditional cities to one that’s admittedly gritty and chaotic.
But guess what? We also know that many of you come through Naples anyway, particularly if you’re going to Pompeii or the Amalfi coast. And while switching trains at the Naples station doesn’t give you enough time to experience Naples’ art or archaeology, it does give you time to get at least a “taste” of one of the city’s best attributes: its food.
So quick. Lace up those shoes and grab that roller bag. In the 45 minutes you have before the next Circumvesuviana train arrives, you’re going to get a taste of… the very best food of Naples!
First stop, Da Pellone: Naples pizza done right
Why: Because you haven’t had pizza until you’ve had Neapolitan pizza, and this is among the best.
Time it takes if you’re speedy, including walking there from the station: 15 minutes (for takeaway), 30 minutes (to sit down)
Although many of Naples’ most famous pizzerias are in the centro storico, Da Pellone, one of the city’s best, is just a short walk from the train station. And if you’ve never tasted Naples’ pizza before, it’s a great place to start. Its pizzas are traditionally Neapolitan, with thick, airy crusts, huge portions (don’t be afraid to share!), fresh ingredients, and cheap prices (a margherita costs just 5 euros). So is the decor, which is no-frills and basic, and the clientele, which includes lots of locals.
Believe it or not, the service is so fast here, you can order and (if you’re fast!) eat a whole pizza in 15 minutes. We know because we just did it. It’s much more comfortable, though, if you have about a half an hour here. Don’t have that much time? No problem—just ask for a pizza to go (“da portare via”) and eat it on the train.
Da Pellone is located at Via Nazionale 93, an 8-minute walk from the station; when you exit the train station onto Piazza Garibaldi, turn right and then right again onto Corso Meridionale. Take your third left, which should be Via Nazionale, and Da Pellone is three streets up.
Second stop, Pasticceria Attanasio: the best sfogliatelle you’ve ever tasted
Why: Because some of the best pastries are made in Naples, sfogliatelle are Naples’ best pastries, and Pasticceria Attanasio makes some of Naples’ best sfogliatelle—hence, these are some of the best pastries you’ll ever eat (right?)
Time it takes if you’re speedy, including walking there: 8 minutes if you’re walking from the train station, 15 minutes if you’re walking there from Da Pellone
Naples’ pastries are just as famous as its pizza, and at Pasticceria Attanasio, you can see why. Although the bakery serves up several types of pastries, the thing to get—as the sign above the door saying “Sfogliatella calda” tells you—is sfogliatella, that traditional Neapolitan pastry made up of leaves of thin, crispy dough surrounding a semi-sweet ricotta filling. Ask for “sfogliatella riccia” if you want the traditional, ridged kind; the “sfogliatella frolla” is also amazing, but it looks more like a pocket of dough.
To get your hands on either one, both of which come fresh out of the oven before your eyes, go to the cash register first to pay and get your number, then wait until it comes up on the sign. This is a popular place, so be patient if it takes a couple of minutes. Although with the delicious smell of cinnamon in the air, we can’t complain.
Pasticceria Attanasio is located at Vico Ferrovia 1, a 2-minute walk from the train station; to get there from the station, just walk out onto Piazza Garibaldi, walking along the piazza on its northern side, until you see Vico Ferrovia on your right.
Third stop, Caffè Mexico: for a pick-me-up at Naples’ best-loved coffee bar
Why: Because you haven’t had coffee until you’ve had it in Italy’s south, and this is one of the best places to try it
Time it takes, including walking there: 5 minutes if you’re walking from Pasticceria Attanasio or from the train station
The coffee competition is tough in Naples, a city that prides itself, rightly, on the virtues of the perfectly-made cup of espresso. But Caffè Mexico stands a head above the rest. A favorite of Neapolitans and foodies alike, the coffee bar has not only your traditional espressos, but flavored coffees and hot chocolate, too. If you want the highest-quality coffee they offer, ask for the “Harem” coffee. And just be careful when you grab your cup: As per tradition for coffee in Naples, the espresso cup is hot.
Caffè Mexico is located right on Piazza Garibaldi 72. When you exit the station onto the piazza, just look to your right and you’ll see it.