Pizza in the Shadow of Vesuvius

When Michele and I were in Rome last month we took the fast train to Naples one day to visit our friend, journalist Marina Alaimo.  Marina drove us to Cantine Matrone in the Vesuvius National Park to meet Andrea Matrone, the owner/wine maker.

After our visit to the vineyards, we were anxious to taste Andrea’s wines, so Marina, knowing our passion for Neapolitan pizza, took us to Sakura Piscine Magma Pizzeria in nearby Torre del Greco.

The pizzeria is part of a hotel complex with a large swimming pool popular with tourists and locals alike. It was a warm afternoon and we sat at a table overlooking the pool. Ciro di Giovanni, the owner and his wife Nicoletta joined us.

He told us that his pizzas are made with local ingredients.

Ciro suggested we try the Sakura Cocktail, a specialty of the house. It was a tasty combination of San Marzano tomato sauce, vodka and ginger beer, garnished with fresh basil.

As always, we started with a pizza margherita. This one was a classic, with an airy, tender crust, sweet tomato sauce and the freshest mozzarella fior di latte. The pizzaiolo, Claudio di Siena, told us that he lets his dough rise for 24 hours.

We let Ciro order the rest of the pizzas for us. Next up was a Pizza Radio Siani, named in memory of a young radio journalist who was martyred. The topping includes the piennolo tomatoes grown on land confiscated from the Camorra, provolone del Monaco, and fior di latte mozzarella.

Andrea Matrone enjoying the pizza with his wine


Then we had a Pizza Riso, or smile pizza, so called because the toppings included peperoncini di fiume, small red or green peppers that look like happy smiles, provola (smoked mozzarella) and tomatoes from Vesuvio.

There was also a Pizza Orto, garden pizza topped with yellow cherry tomatoes, zucchini, mozzarella and thyme.

We ended our pizza feast with slices of a fried pizza turnover filled with ricotta di buffala, ciccoli (nuggets of pork) and mozzarella fior di latte.

It was wonderful afternoon  of  eating and talking about pizza and wine in the shadow of  Vesuvius.




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2 responses to “Pizza in the Shadow of Vesuvius

  1. Bravi Charles and Michele. Replicating two of the pizzas tonight in our Roccbox portable pizza. Oven, reaching 900 degrees. Roasted tomatoes using Michele’s recipe from 1000 Italian Recipes, my bible and used for Pizza Radio Siani. And the zucchini, mozzarella, tomatoes, Nd thyme. Perfect meal! Better than our joint fiasco at a noted NYC Italian restaurant that shall go unnamed!

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