Naples Pizza Quest: I Decumani

Antica Pizzeria “I Decumani”
Via Tribunali 58
Naples, Italy

We came to Naples for its pizza, plain and simple. US places claiming authentic Neapolitan pizza are a dime a dozen, so we were extremely excited to try the real deal where it originated.  In America, Neapolitan pizza is usually a pretty fancy affair, with each pizza costing upwards of $18. However not so in Naples. Pizza is literally everywhere, and pizza even in the best spots will not run you more than 7€ (less than $10). Naturally, we did our research beforehand so we would only end up at the top locations.

Locals who know where to get a good pizza in Napoli.

One spot that kept pinging our radar was Decumani. Decumani is located on Via Tribunali, in the heart of historic Napoli. If you find yourself strolling down Tribunali, you really cannot go wrong: there are several famous pizzerias on this road, so after some initial indecision we decided to use our old rule of thumb: go to the crowded place. Arriving at 2 PM, usually a little late for the lunch crowd, the place was still hopping, and after a few minutes of awkward waiting in the corner, we were lucky enough to secure a seat. The menu is surprisingly extensive for a Neapolitan pizzeria: a wide variety of pizzas and fried appetizers, but we were floored by the prices. A classic Margherita pizza with basil and fresh mozzarella? 3.50€. Want to splurge and get some more adventurous toppings? It’s impossible to spend more than 7€ on a whole pie, with most pizzas under 5. The prices were so surprising to some, in fact, that one patron actually argued that his bill was – at 70€ for feeding his entire group of 10 people – too low. This is a very good problem to have.

Margherita Pizza. The best $5 you will ever spend.

We know what you’re thinking: so cheap, they must be small. Never mind that the high prices in the US come from the import taxes on importing your bufala and tomatoes from the shady side of Mount Vesuvius – the local places here save considerably by being able to practically walk the ingredients to the kitchen. No, these are not small pies, as you can see above. But they’re also not overpowering or too filling. The crust is thin but supportive, perfectly chewy while acting as a place for the blended marinara, bufala, and basil on top. The sauce is fresh and tastes like actual tomatoes: not to sweet, not too salty, and oh so good. The mozzarella is excellent, and as you can see generously applied. M, keeping up his love of cured pig meats and spicy food, decided to go for another classic pizza, the Diavola – essentially a margherita topped with spicy salame (4.50€.)

Close-up of the spicy cheese tomato-y goodness.

Together, L and M sat in I Decumani for about an hour, slowly savoring every bite of our pizzas. M very carefully paid special attention to his salame: cooked to perfection, it was the perfect complement (for him, anyway) to the margherita L was devouring across the table. All in all, for the unbelievable price of 11€, we were totally blown away by our Naples pizza experience. We’ll never be able to have Neapolitan pizza in the US again. But Chicago deep dish, we still love you!

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