A fresh Margherita pizza comes out of the oven at Antica Pizzeria da Michele, in Naples, Italy.
This popular local pizza joint always had lines out the door, but the fame grew enormously after being featured in a certain best-selling book (followed by a movie). It's the antithesis of the philosophy that you should give the customer whatever they want. For generations da Michele has served only two types of pizza – Marinara, and Margherita. The drinks menu consists of beer, Coca-Cola®, or sparkling water. With no reservations possible you are seated when enough spots open up for you group, often at a communal table. Yet the crowds continue to que, and local workers leave with take-out boxes stacked high, because da Michele serves one of the best pizzas in Naples (you'll have to decide for yourself if it's THE best).
With fame has come expansion. There are now locations in Rome, Milan, Barcelona, London, two in Japan, and even one in Los Angeles.
Maybe it's things like this that led Britain to vote to exit the EU...Italy wants to establish a government-controlled exam, minimum qualifications and a registry for pizza-makers.
The town of San Vitaliano, Italy has banned the use of wood-burning pizza ovens because of concerns about the city's poor air quality. Local pizza makers are protesting, saying that nearby Naples, which has far more pizza ovens, has better air quality than San Vitaliano.
The Naples area is considered home to the best pizza in Italy, pizza that must be made in a wood-burning oven.
Nestled between the main train station and the cathedral, Florence's Mercato Centrale has been a fixture of local culture and life for more than 100 years. I have always enjoyed wandering through the bustling market, filled with foreign sights, sounds and smells.
Modern hypermarkets and changes in buying habits have put pressure on the old market, and in recent years the beautiful iron and glass structure has fallen on hard times. I was very happy to see and experience the results of an initiative to breath new life back into Mercato.
The lower level still serves as a market, with dozens of individual stalls selling everything from fresh flowers and vegetables to beef tongue and calf brains
After a multi-million dollar renovation, the upper floor is now like a giant food court, only better. Think trendy food trucks, without the trucks.
Wander around, sample foods, and pick up lunch, dinner or a snack. Grab a seat at one of the tables in the middle and one of the staff will be by to take your drink order.
On a recent mid-week evening there was no problem finding a seat -- there are over 500 of them -- but by 9:00 pm the place was packed and buzzing. Most of the patrons seemed to be locals, as interested and excited by the idea as we were.
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