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In this episode, we are once more talking about what Italy does best… food! Pizza is probably the most popular Italian food and a staple of all of our lives but many will attest (and we agree) that you haven’t tried real pizza unless you’ve been to Napoli (Naples).
We talk to pizza aficionado Pierpaolo Guida of Joe Banana Limos & Travel. Their family-run company has been helping travelers explore the coast for over a decade and Pierpaulo loves taking visitors around the Amalfi Coast, showing them wonderful sights and scenery, giving them unforgettable experiences, and, of course, showing them the best places to eat. Pierpaolo is a huge foodie and blew us away with his in-depth knowledge of the different types of pizzas – as well as the history, science and magic behind them.
Joe Banana offers tours that highlight the best restaurants as well as pizza/mozzarella-making experience. They tend to avoid the more famous locations as, while they are excellent, there is often a very long wait and the experience is not always as authentic and instead can be quite rushed. These options are on par and often better than the most famous restaurants and give guests the chance to dine like a local Italian and see the true authenticity of a Napoletano pizzaiolo!
Pizza and/or Mozarella Making Experiences with Joe Banana:
- Visit the ruins of Pompeii together with a private guide (entrance tickets included)
- Learn, hands-on, how to cook a real pizza
- Visit an old olive oil mill and learn everything about the pressing process
- Stop in Sorrento and enjoy a gelato!
- Learn from an expert pizza chef how to prepare a real pizza
- Visit a mozzarella factory and try your hand at cheese making
- Visit an old olive oil mill and discover everything about olive oil
- Don’t forget to taste everything
- Enjoy a fantastic, off the beaten path experience, combining history and food
- Visit the Greek temples in Paestum
- See how mozzarella is made in typical buffalo mozzarella farm
- Taste freshly produced cheese followed by a light lunch, all included in the price
Pierpaolo’s Pizza Facts…
- In the original pizza of 1734, the ‘marinara’ the pizza sauces was without tomatoes at all. It was made with anchovies, with capers, black olives and oregano and didn’t include tomatoes till they arrived from Peru in 1760 -1770
- Even back in the 1700s pizza was a poor man’s dish but was eaten by the rich as well!
- Back in the late 1700s there was a rule ‘from today to the eight’ which means that you eat the pizza today and you pay within eight days
- Lombardi’s was the first pizzeria in the US, opening in 1905
- Raffaele Esposito is considered by some to be the father of modern pizza, creating the first Margherita in restaurant Brandi, named after Queen Margherita who loved it
- Marinara – though meaning from the sea, is not a seafood pizza but is named after the hungry fishermen who would come home from sea and eat the pizza straight out of the ovens
- As well as the classic, the 2 other main pizza types are the dinghy, which has an airy dough surround (like the boat), and the chariot wheel which is a huge, very flat pizza that hangs over the edge of the plate
- Fried pizza is a thing! Made with ingredients such as ricotta cheese, ciccioli, black pepper, mozzarella cheese or provolone, some tomatoes, then folded and fried. It originates from WW2 when people were trying to use up old items left in their larders
Pierpaolo’s tips for the best DIY pizza…
Quelli di Bonci – a Facebook group (in Italian, but easily translated) where you can try to make your own pizza
And here you can find the recipe for a pizza to make on your own
Bonci’s Pizza Recipe – a fabulous recipe for a pizza with 24-hour fermented dough
Pierpaolo’s tips for the best pizza all around the world…
50 Top Pizza – this is a guide to the top pizzerias all over the world (as well as in Italy, of course!)
About our guest – Pierpaolo Guida
Pierpaolo runs Joe Banana Limo & Travels with his brother Giovanni. They have more than two decades of experience in the toursim business.
Giovanni’s nickname ‘Joe Banana’, is the inspiration for the name of my company. Nicknames are really popular in the southern part of Italy, where basically, every family has one. Giovanni was given this nickname when he was 9 years old. His Grandad used to sell fruits using a three-wheel minivan, and he used to sit on the back trailer as he drove street by street through their little village. One day he was eating a banana while riding on the back of his grandad’s trailer when a few of his school friends saw him, and from that moment his nickname became “Banana”.
Giovanni began his career as a tour director and driver of tour buses, taking tourists from all over the world to visit the main cities around Europe. In 2010, he started his own little business with driving and guide services. He was soon joined by brother Pierpaolo, who started his career studying management of touristic enterprises and who with further studying and a lot of experience under his belt, in 2015 became a licensed professional tour guide.
Year after year they have grown and have added private boat tours, private guided tours and other services, until the realization of their dream that was to become a travel agency. In this way, they feel they can meet all the needs of their guests.
You can find Pierpaolo and Joe Banana on these channels:
- Trip Advisor: Joe Banana Limos
- Call free from US/Canada: +1 888 727 4707
Food & Drink
- caciotta – cheese from Central and South Italy
- buffalo mozzarella – made from the milk of Italian Mediterranean buffalo in Campania
- ciccioli – little bits of pork lard
- provolone – a smoked cheese
- escarole – otherwise known as Italian green, a member of the chicory family
- Peroni – Italian beer brand
- papaccella – large, round peppers
- conciato – a strong cheese dating back to Roman times
- Pinsa – derived from the term “pinsere,” which means “push the dough by hand” in Latin. Possibly even related to even the old Arabian word pita
- Plato – Greek philosopher
Resources from Untold Italy
- Read Pierpaolo’s full recommendation list for pizza here. Find more about food on the Amalfi Coast in 7 reasons to join a Sorrento food tour on your trip to Italy and more about the many towns and villages to enjoy in Best places to stay in Amalfi Coast: towns, villages, hotels and villas
- Heading to the Amalfi Coast soon? Our digital Positano Guide is now available at the Untold Italy shop, full of load of useful info to carry with you, including the best restaurants, local dishes to try as well as beach clubs, walks, shopping, a packing list and more – untolditaly.com/shop
- Listen: Hear more from Pierpaolo in Episode #067 Exploring the Amalfi Coast by Road and by Sea and Episode #090 Limoncello! Simply the Zest or more Amalfi foodie delights, Episode #021: Savoring Sorrento – a food lovers guide to Italy’s city by the sea and for the lowdown on the city of Pizza – Episode #044: Ciao Napoli! Don’t miss this noble and exciting city
- How to plan a trip to Italy – our article that takes you step by step through trip planning so you can avoid our mistakes
- Italy Travel Planning – our FREE online community where you can ask questions and get inspiration for planning your trip
- Travel shop where you’ll find items mentioned in the show
Prefer to read along as you listen? You can download a PDF version of the full transcript of this episode.