parking in naples
i know this is not about food per se, but the reason we are going to naples is to eat at da michele pizza, so i'm looking for any advice you can offer on parking in naples.
we are flying to naples, picking up our rental car and driving to sorrento and then ravello, with stops along the way. in naples, we really want to eat some pizza. i've read lots of warnings not to drive in naples but i want to know if there are any public parking lots at all? anyone been in a similar situation?
Yes there is parking in naples - at least if the maps in the Michelin green and red guides are any indication. Id think that down by the harbor is the best place to find pay parking in a parking lot (what you probably want), altho that is not close to the main attractions in the centro storico. But driving in the city is a mess since nobody observes the rules of the road, literally., scooters run right down the center line and are everywhere. I would not recommend this experience for a jet-lagged person.
The whole region has great pizza - you dont need to go to da Michele IMO to experience it.
Much better to take a day trip in from Sorrento on the Circumvesuviana and really see this wonderful city.
The Guardian newspaper recently ran this article about a pizzeria south of Naples:
Also be aware that Da Salvatore in Ravello has a wood burning pizza oven.
All this is to heartily discourage you from driving into Napoli, where traffic is much more chaotic than you can imagine, and you will be utterly lost looking for streets and alleys and piazze which have no signage.
Saner option: If you can store luggage at the Naples airport, go into town for your pizza and come back to pick up your luggage and rental car.
But like Jen says, the whole area has fantastic pizzza.
As a native New Yorker, I found driving in Naples to be a a lot messier, and parking significantly harder. I admit that I never looked for a pay parking lot. In NY I tend to just drive around a neighborhood until I find a place, Naples is not on much of a grid, so "driving around the block" can be pretty difficult, and can take five or ten or fifteen blocks.
Personally, I enjoyed the scene and the pizza at Da Michele, but it's a basic workingman's (cab driver's favorite) pizza place with very reasonable prices. Very simple very good pizza, with few options and high turnover. I'm very glad to have been there and enjoyed my pizza, I think it's a but unusual even in Naples (most other Pizzerias have far more choices than marinara or margherita). I'm not sure I'd drive into Naples just to to go Da Michele - Naples is worth several days, and in those days I'd find my way back to Da Michele.
Take out extra insurance if you are seriously contemplating driving in Naples. It is very unlikely you will make it out of there without sustaining paint and/or body damage to your rental. I'm not trying to be dramatic, it's just driving is super chaotic in Naples.
Consider parking your car in a small town and take the Circumvesuviana train into Naples. It's stress free and you'll avoid taking years off your life.
Here are some Sorrento-area places with pizza. I think Sockster posted about another in Sant'Agnello, just a few days back.
there is also a pizzeria we liked just across the valley from Ravello, in Pontone, San Giovanni - not life-changing but good.
Im serious about my Circumvesuviano suggestion tho. Just take the train (takes maybe an hour from Sorrento) after you have settled in for a day, then walk to Da Michele (or one of the other wonderful pizzerias in the historic center like Sorbillo or di Matteo . An extremely interesting experience and less stressful than the alternative.
If you do decide to drive in, study your city map carefully (like the Michelin I recommended), use one of the major arteries to get in and find parking on the periphery of the center in a major pay parking area. At all costs, do not try to drive to your destination in the centro and expect to find parking nearby. this recommendation applies to all Italian cities, but since the driving in Naples is more lawless its even more difficult than, say Florence.
I am an american living in Naples, and by Naples I mean directly in the heart of the city (as opposed to the american military base on the outskirts of town). Ordinarily I would concur with the other posters that driving in Naples is best to be avoided. On the first day our car arrived here (an Acura MDX, mind you, as we are a family of 6) I was waiting for my husband to unload some luggage and a trash truck attempting to sqeeze by us actually lifted two of my wheels off the ground with me inside!!!! HOWEVER, if you are planning to visit between now and the end of August, you may be pleasantly surprised. The town has already started to empty out as everyone heads to the shore, and by August the streets will be absolutely empty. We do not have assigned parking for our family boat, and yet always manage to find street parking this time of year. If you opt to give it a try, I suggest bringing a gps or downloading the tomtom iPhone app. One or the other is a must. And look for parking within blue lines on the side of the roads. Expect to pay a euro per hour, free on Sundays and after 8 daily.
Another option if you decide against driving is to take the Alibus from the airport for 3 euro per person. Get off at Piazza Garibaldi for da Michele. This airport bus only stops to load/unload at Garibaldi and near the port, so it isn't as jam packed as the other more accessible buses.
I've had too many pizzas to list in the 18 months since we moved here, and I am missing the magic that da Michele is supposedly known for. I have found it to be on par with quite a few places rather than in a class of its own. My favorite without a doubt is Trianon. They have several locations, including Salerno. Another is convenient to the Centrale station in Naples, or one in a more car-friendly area is on Via Morghen atop the Vomero hill. Their four cheese is otherworldly. And they do a nice fritta mista...an appetizer-like combination of arancini, zeppole, frittatini and crochette that everyone should taste at some point in their travels to Naples. They will only be remarkable if they are fresh and hot. Skip those that spend time under heat lamps or sitting next to a microwave!
IIts really great to be getting your on the ground report! Hope you will give us some report on some of the other food you are eating!
Have you tried the other pizzerie on Vomero - Acunzo, Gorizia etc?
Is that Trianon as good as the one near the station?
would NOT recommend approaching the Via Morghen Trianon location by car unless you really know what you are doing. When we stayed near there in November our taxi driver (bringing us from the airport) got all snarled up in the Vomero traffic (this was a Saturday at noontime). Maybe August will empty things out maybe we just had a tough moment- and we werent looking for parking spaces per se, just to get driven to our desitnation (we wound up getting out and WALKING a few blocks further from that Trianon corner) but I think its a crapshoot.
re: jen kalb
We live in the San Martino area, so I have tried just about every pizzeria on this side of Vomero. Acunzo was an early favorite, especially for courteous delivery. They knew my voice well from all the orders I called in! Gorizia is nice for its more comprehensive menu, but we've only been there once or twice and I can't even remember what we had. However, once I tried the Trianon on Morghen I was hooked. They know my voice, address, and all of the quirky modifications we like...like opting for pizza ai tre formaggi when you want a little break from the power of the gorgonzola, or a pizza fritta but with just provola e pomodoro. Simple pleasures I tell you. I snapped cell phone pics of their menu to help guests choose. The nice lady at Acunzo probably thinks we left town because I went from calling twice a week to never going back. It just didn't stack up!
I've also learned my way around Montesanto for excellent ingredients for the kitchen. The seafood, fruits and vegetables, and most of all the prices make it an important part of our routine. Because we do not make trips back to the states, I have enjoyed dissecting and recreating all sorts of favorite dishes from home...from crab wontons to true new york cheesecake with caramel topping to spinach artichoke dip.
And caramel topping became a project in and of itself because I was determined to create a caramel macchiato (ala starbucks) that I could enjoy at any time of day and avoid the stereotype of an american ordering a milk drink after breakfast. I invested in a La Pavoni espresso machine and religiously purchase caffe Kimbo that is ground while I wait. Yes, I have become a bit of a coffee nut! The good news is Naples bars do not disappoint. The bad news is that my original belief that all coffee in Italy is excellent is now shattered!!! Even in Rome I am frequently disappointed by a basic caffe schiumato. It just lacks the rich, full-bodied flavor of that in Naples...and of course the sugar too. I'm always amazed by the 60-80¢ cups of heaven on every corner of this city. My favorite so far is served by Giancarlo or Enzo at Bar Jvon (said ee-von) directly across from the station at the top of the Montesanto funicolare. And, no shocker here...they deliver!