If you want a piece of history with your pizza pie, head to Pizzeria Brandi, the oldest and most illustrious pizzerias in Naples. In a city renowned for the wood oven-cooked delicacy, this is the grand-daddy; the Temple of Pizza. In business in the same spot since 1780, it started life as Pizzeria Pietro, after its founder (who was more affectionately known in the neighborhood simply as "il Pizzaiuolo" or the pizza guy). Having no heirs, he bequeathed his business to one Enrico Brandi and the place has been passed down through the generations ever since.
But its not just its longevity that places it among the most prized pies,Brandi also the documented birthplace of Italy's most popular variety of pizza, the Margherita. When Umberto I and Queen Margherita of Savoy were at a ball at the palace of Capodimonte in 1889, the pizzeria owners, Maria Giovanna Brandi and her husband Raffaele Esposito, were invited to provide pizzas as a novelty. They arrived in a decorated cart pulled by a mule and served three varieties of their product, including one created and named especially for the queen - the pizza Margherita, which featured tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella pieces and basil leaves (the colors of the new Italian flag, according to legend). The creation won the applause of the queen and an official document from a royal representative attesting to her delight. The decree is still on display in the pizzeria, and an official plaque is posted on the wall outside declaring the place of historical significance.
Today, Pizzeria Brandi is still located on Salita Sant'Anna in one of those characteristic, super-narrow streets that teem with life in the heart of Naples. It still draws crowds and still serves excellent pizza. The Margherita is still the reigning queen of pizzas, but there are many varieties, and if you can't decide you can opt for a tasting menu. There is Old World charm inside and a few tables scattered on the alley-street outside.
PIzzeria Brandi is near the Palazzo Reale, Piazza Plebiscito and Teatro San Carlo.
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Address in Naples:
Salita Sant'Anna di Palazzo 1.