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Naples, La Masardona's fried pizzas


Enzo Piccirillo with his cousins Rosa Pastore and Rosa Vaccaro - La Masardona - picture by m.p.

by Monica Piscitelli

There are working-class neghbourhoods and well-off neghbourhoods but there are also places which seem to be forgotten by everybody. The "Case Nuove" neighbourhood in Naples is located around the central station and spreads as far as the sea.

Piazza Garibaldi and the new Feltrinelli library, one of the few places of culture - picture by m.p.

Arnaldo Lucci main street, not far from Mercato square, the historical centre of the city commerce and the place where Masaniellos' revolution took place, leads to the motorway entrance. In the station square there are many yards. In the past this place was unhealthy and marshy before the reclamation realized by Charles II D'Angiņ in the thirteenth century. In the second half of the twentieth century the factories and the houses increased and changed the look of this place. It is full of alleys among modern buildings and swarms with small shops.

La Masardona - picture by m.p.

This pizzeria has been here since 1945. It opens at 7:00 a.m. and offers the first pizzas to those who go to market. These fried pizzas are eaten standing opposite the counter or sitting at the tables on the pavement or are taken away. On Tuesdays they prepare the typical Neapolitan sandwiches made with pepper, lard, grapes, Roman cheese and pork's scratchings and on Saturday nights there are homemade potato croquettes, omelettes and rice balls. In summer you can find fried pizzas with tomatoes, basil and ricotta (also without pork's scratchings).

Enzo Piccirillo, Anna Manfredi's grandson, is always smiling and busy. Anna Manfredi's nickname was La Masardona.

La masardona, Anna Manfredi at work - picture by m.p.

Anna was a little girl when was nicknamed "la masardona" by a woman because she had reported a message to another woman with puncutality and discretion. The "masardoni" were messengers who made brigands communicate.

She started to make pizzas at home because this activity didn't need a lot of money: an oven, lard, coal and some ingredients were enough. In the neighbourhood each woman made pizzas one day a week. "My grandmother had to make pizzas on Sundays", Enzo says. Anna was renowned for Christmas and Easter cakes and the fried pizza prepared with pork's scratchings, ricotta and pepper.

Salvatore Piccirillo with his wife Carmela - picture by m.p.

Enzo told me that he has refined the recipe to obtain an excellent product. In fact according to him the best way to build customer loyalty is making the best pizza and delivering it if required. He thinks that there is a secret to make a very good fried pizza but he doesn't explain it. He has the same eyes of his mum Carmela who welcomed me. The "masardona" died in 1967. In 1974 Salvatore died and for this reason Carmela had to manage this pizzeria which moved here in the Fifties.

A steaming fried pizza and the liqueur - picture by m.p.

Eight years ago her son Enzo succeeded her in the management. Enzo has worked here since 1980 and is helped by his cousins Rosa Pastore and Rosa Vaccaro. He works with passion and great care (there is the utmost care even for all the details of the packaging). Here you can find the best fried pizzas in Naples: they are light and fragrant and have a harmonious taste.

The "Battilocchio" - picture by m.p.

The ingredients between two disks of dough are ricotta, pork's scratchings, "provola" cheese and pepper. There is also the one with tomato sauce or with ham or salami cut into small pieces. You can also have a fried calzone or a "battilocchio" which is a small calzone. Enzo puts the pizzas in oil and they rise. When they have become golden-brown they are taken out of the oil with a skimmer.

The interior of La Masardona. The counter - picture by m.p.

A "battilocchio" costs 2 Euros whereas you will spend 5 Euros for a fried pizza and a small glass of Marsala liqueur withe egg or a drink according to choice. A fried pizza and a beer cost 6 Euros.

La Masardona
Via Capaccio Giulio Cesare, 27
phone +39 081 281057
Open seven days a week from 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. On Saturdays also open from 6:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

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