The “pizza a libretto” or book-like folded pizza has its birthplace here in Naples at the Ristorante Pizzeria Port’Alba.
Outside the entrance you can still see the stall for selling take-away pizza. “We could have removed it since long time ago, but the Pizzeria Port’Alba would not be the same without it,” the owner Gennaro Luciano tells us. “The students from the nearby schools come here to eat that cheap delicious folded pizza and many years later they come back with their nephews.”
This venue is a bit hidden near the Port’Alba Gate, but it is well known as the oldest pizzeria in the city. It goes back to 1738.
At that time the pizza was not served at the table and not even in slices to the public. The bakeries, the laboratories, used to prepare the pizzas to supply only and solely the peddlers who, with their “stoves “(ancient cylindrical tinned copper vessel for pizza delivery), delivered the pizza by walking, throughout he city center, returning constantly to refurbish.
Only at the end of the XVIII century these bakeries (that had nothing more than a oven, a table for kneading and a plan for the support of the stoves, slowly began to introduce marble tables and benches for the customers. In the early XIX century, slowly, those laboratories were transformed in pizzerias. Pizzeria Portalba was the first one in town to undergo this process: in 1830 opened the first sitted-down eating pizzeria.
To give the name to the restaurant, is the nearby gate Port’Alba (that people used to call “delle Sciuscelle” or Carob Tree gate because of its presence there in the old times) built in 1625 and dedicated to t Duke of Alba and Toledo Don Antonio Alvarez.
Because of its location, therefore, the Pizzeria Port’Alba, became a restaurant in the 50s: common people and celebritiesstill love it.
In 1830 the venue was already what it is today: the oven and kitchen on the ground floor, and a number of cozy rooms, and quiet, upstairs.