A street food tour through the backstreets of Naples
Naples is famous all over the world for several things, from its delicious pizza to Vesuvius, its active volcano that looms ominously over the entire city and surrounding area. In addition, it is one of the most charming cities in Italy due to its deep-rooted culinary tradition. If you happen to take a little stroll around some of the most famous backstreets of the city, as well as the less known ones, you will find a large number of culinary spots where you can sample some Neapolitan delicacies. This is the right choice for you if you want to experience an authentic food tour of Naples, Italy, far from the suffocating crowds and rich in charming attractions.
The most famous (and the less known) backstreets of Naples
Spaccanapoli is the most famous street in Naples due to its history, its meaning for the city and the large number of venues on both sides of this long road that connects the Quartieri Spagnoli neighbourhood to Via Toledo. It is the literal and the metaphorical heart of the city, and is an important part of many Neapolitans’ day.
If you are planning a trip to Naples, Italy, you can’t miss the chance to visit Spaccanapoli and to taste the most famous Neapolitan pizza in the whole world made by Gino Sorbillo.
However, Naples is like a large labyrinth and getting tangled up in its backstreets may not be that bad after all; they are just as interesting as Spaccanapoli and offer completely authentic Neapolitan delights. There are more than 100 backstreets in the city and they are labeled with the most original and surprising names from the Bible or from the popular traditions, such as Vico del Purgatorio (Purgatory Alley), Vico dei Giganti (Giants Alley) or Vico dei Panettieri (Bakers Alley).
So, how do you recognize them? They are the typical narrow streets where clothes hang from one building to another; just look up and you’ll see everything from t-shirts to intimate wear flapping out in the open breeze!
The most famous is Vicolo di San Gregorio Armeno, due to the Neapolitan crypt exhibitions and the specialized shops open all year round, where you can see the Queen or the Pope statuette as well as statues representing music and cinema stars.
Culinary backstreets and street food in Naples
Naples is rich in culinary backstreets that make it easy to stumble upon a large number of typical family-run trattorias (taverns). Usually, they are little and simple venues, very different from Michelin starred restaurants. These are exactly the places you want to be if you’re interested in eating authentic street food in Naples. For example, the so-called cuoppo, a mix of fried fish and vegetables served in a paper bag, or the so-called “pizza a portafoglio”,a typical round pizza folded in on itself in four triangles. These are the types of snacks that you can stand and eat with friends, or eat while you’re on-the-go if you’re in a hurry to see the next attraction.
Fried food is a must when you’re sampling street food in Naples so you can’t miss the opportunity to eat in one of the several fried snack shops that are peppered along the alleyways. They will serve you fried rice balls (the Neapolitan version of the “arancino”), fried calzoni, a round pizza dough that is folded in half and filled with tomato and mozzarella, and many other typical street food specialties.
These backstreets host an increasing number of new venues called “vasci” or “bassi”, essentially meaning that they are places that are located on the “ground floor”. They are little self-made restaurants set up inside old houses with no more than two rooms.
These days, those who still live in these small dwellings have decided to open their kitchen to tourists and guests. While these are not official restaurants, you’ll surely be eating real local cuisine with real Neapolitans and it will definitely be an interesting and unmistakably authentic experience for you.