Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba in Naples is widely regarded as the city’s first pizzeria. Purists, like the famous pizzeria “Da Michele” in Via C. Sersale (founded 1870), consider there to be only two true pizzas—the marinara and the margherita—and that is all they serve.
First established in 1738 as a stand for peddlers, Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba was opened in 1830 in the town center at Via Port’Alba 18.
The restaurant replaced street vendors who would make pizza in wood-fired ovens and bring it onto the street, keeping it warm in small tin stoves they balanced on their head. It soon became a prominent meeting place for men in the street.
Most patrons were artists, students, or others with very little money, so the pizzas made were simple, with toppings such as oil and garlic.
A payment system, called pizza an otto, was developed that allowed customers to pay up to eight days after their meal. A resulting local joke was that a meal from Port’Alba might be someone’s last free meal, if they died before they paid.
Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba is still in business today, located between some bookstores. Again, it is widely believed to be the world’s first pizzeria.