EAT, PRAY, LOVE
by Elizabeth Gilbert
"He gave me the name of a Pizzeria in Naples ("Da Michele") that I had to try, because he informed me, it sold the best pizza in Naples. I found this a wildly exciting prospect, given that the best pizza in Italy is from Naples and the best pizza in the world is from Italy, which means that pizzeria must offer... I'm almost too superstitious to say it... the best pizza in the world?"
"Please go to this pizzeria order the margherita pizza with double mozzarella. If you do not eat this pizza when you are in Naples, please lie to me later and tell me that you did."
"At the pizzeria "Da Michele", the pies we have just ordered, one for each of us, are making us lose our mind. I love my pizza so much, in fact, that I have come to believe in my delirium that my pizza might actually love me, in return. I am having a relationship with the pizza, almost an affair."
In the heart of Naples, the Condurro family began what would become a long history of great pizza producers in 1870. Michele Condurro, Salvatore's son, mastered the family art of pizza making, which he acquired from the legendary Torre Annunziata masters who were professionals in the preparation and kneading of pizza dough, as well as the cooking of pizza.
Michele founded his first pizzeria in 1906 on the current location of Ascalesi Hospital, which required the pizzeria to relocate due to construction. The pizzeria was relocated to its current home on Via Cesare Sersale in 1930, which has been named "the sacred temple of pizza" by specialists and journalists.
Since then, five generations of master pizza makers have carried on the work of the founder, respecting the tradition and being faithful to Michele’s instructions: there are only two types of Neapolitan Pizza, the “Marinara” and the “Margherita”; and no “junk” should be used in making the pizza that could alter its world-famous genuineness and taste. The secret of Da Michele’s enduring success is in the use of natural ingredients, and of an old, traditional, time-tested method of leavening pizza dough.
WHO IS MICHELE?
The man who, more or less consciously, incarnated the philosophy of Neapolitan pizza, was a small person and a man of humble origins.
He had a sharp look and a mischievous smile; he was an unusual person, particularly for his character, for his life but, above all, for the way he worked and appreciated his job.
One of his sons, master pizza chef Antonio Condurro, defined him as ‘an icon of the art of pizza’.
Michele was simply a 'pizza fanatic', just like Luigi Condurro, another of his 13 children, used to define him.
This was Michele Condurro, the famous master pizza maker and founder of the family of restaurateurs who has made Neapolitan pizza their life's work since 1870.