|Naples: One big Subway Construction site|
At the moment, the city is in a state of being completely dug up. The subway system is being ‘improved’ and gaping holes appear everywhere from the windows of Viking’s tour buses. Naples, like almost all of Italy, has terrible problems the minute it puts a spade in its earth. Under it lies the history of the country, dating back as it does over 2000 years to Roman times. And in Naples it goes back even further: Naples was first called Neo Polis, the Greek name for the city they founded in the 6th century BC. Now, each disturbance unearths ruins upon ruins in the layers of history of this, the 3rd largest city in Italy. Sometimes these discoveries lead to the complete cessation of all activity. This is the sense I got as our “Piazzas and Pizza” tour got underway–that the city was pretty well paralyzed. We seemed to travel in endless circles trying to avoid the massive pits that pockmark the center of Napoli.
|View from Posillipo Hill, Capri in the distance|
Viking offers an amazingly varied group of optional excursions on its Naples stop. You can tour Pompeii or Herculaneum, or take a 4 x 4 and drive up Mount Vesuvius. You can combine a visit to Sorrento with one to Pompeii. You can go all the way down the coast to the Amalfi Drive or stop in Positano. But since my focus is food, I choose “Piazzas and Pizzas”. And for some reason, I decided that I really should have some lunch before setting out for my one o’clock tour. Which I dutifully did, despite the fact that I’d had waffles about two hours earlier.
|Demos and Stacy on their “Luna di Miele”
|Stacy and her Pizza Margherita|
Pizza was invented in Naples in 1830. Some wonderful chef dreamed up the idea of making what, in my opinion, is the perfect food. The crisp crust, the sweetness of tomato sauce, the melted goodness of mozzarella and the choice of dozens of toppings make for a meal that has protein, carbohydrates, dairy and vegetables all in one.
|And I with mine.|
set out and volunteers selected from the group to make pizza. Stacy went first, adeptly making her pizza which was then thrust into a 400 degrees C. (750 degrees F.) for literally two minutes. I was far less agile than my friend but nevertheless created something that I consumed in a flash. There were individual pizzas for every single one of us on the tour and I saw virtually no leftovers. Everyone devoured their pizza. We stumbled back onto the bus for the short ride back to the ship. It was about 5:15. Getting off the bus, I heard one of my fellow pizza makers ask his wife : What time is dinner? “6 o’clock” came the answer. Really? I waited till at least 8:15.