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Beyond the Walls: A Day in the Life of a Neapolitan Market Neighborhood

$135/person USD
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  • Fee includes everything consumed on the walk
  • Group Size: 2-7
  • Start/End: 10:00am-3:00pm
  • Duration: 5 hours

Naples is at once a sophisticated ancient metropolis littered with monuments of art and architecture, a city dramatically perched between Mount Vesuvius and the sea, a place of palaces, the hometown of pizza. But unlike many other Italian cities with such a formidable legacy, Naples is not an open-air museum. It’s gritty and loud, beautiful and rough around the edges, accessible and exotic – in a word, charming. This is a city with a pulse so strong and a culinary heritage so divine that after spending time in Naples we’ve found ourselves wondering: why don’t all roads lead here?

On this culinary walk, we explore what lies beyond the old city walls in the thriving old neighborhoods that crowd around Naples’ historic gates. We’ll start in a third-generation pasticceria for a Neapolitan coffee and sfogliatella, a pastry first created in a Catholic convent near Naples. We will then plunge into the traditional food shops and market streets of the neighborhood. We’ll stop into a baccaleria, where salt cod is king, before sampling the healing waters of Vesuvius at a kiosk in the market. We’ll meet three sisters at their vegetable stand and sample some of the famous tomatoes grown around the famous volcano. We’ll visit a family-run bakery, where we will make our own Neapolitan caponata, a salad made with the bakery’s specialty bread, called freselle, mozzarella and heirloom piennolo tomatoes. We’ll then move further into the market to sample the beloved street foods of Naples such as pizza fritta, zeppole, panzarotti, palle di riso, frittatina di pasta and seasonal specialties like fried zucchini flowers.

We will then sit down for a couple of courses and some local wine at tiny typical trattoria Napoletana. We’ll have spaghetti done in the classic Neapolitan way and then offal, a deeply cherished part of Naples cuisine, served in every form. We’ll finish the day as we started, in a traditional pasticceria, chatting with the bakers, sipping hot espresso and enjoying a local favorite, baba au rhum, a pastry with a curious history.

Shopkeepers, olive sorters, home cooks, vendors and the last traditional sign painter of the market are all part of the warm community of this bustling market experience. On this walk beyond the walls, we’ll spend the day among them, experiencing the everyday food traditions of a living local market neighborhood along with the superlative hospitality that is the hallmark of the Neapolitano.

What is included in the fee?

In addition to your Culinary Backstreets guide, all food consumed on the walk – more than a dozen different edible specialties – are included in the price.  A limited selection of alcohol is served on the walks and is included in the price.

Why is the Culinary Backstreet tour more expensive than some other walking tours?

Our approach is different than most tour companies. Each of our culinary walks is the outcome of considerable research. We work with academics in the field and our own team of experienced professionals – both guides and local journalists. Our ongoing publishing of articles, from restaurant reviews to features about the intersection of food and culture, constantly feeds new material into the culinary walks, so they evolve and constantly improve. Though costly, we believe that this is how to create the quality experiences we strive for.

We practice honest tourism  and would never accept a free lunch or any sort of commission. On the contrary, we are proud to know that the money spent during the culinary walk goes to support businesses that we believe in, helping to preserve the social and cultural fabric of the cities we love so dearly.

How does the payment process work?

Once you have made a reservation, we require the full $135 fee to be paid in order to complete the online booking. Our online booking system uses Stripe to process secure payments.

What is your cancellation policy?

100% will be refunded if given 1 week notice prior to walk and 50% will be refunded if given 72 hours notice or more.

Are your walks public or private? How many people are on them?

Our walks are 2-7 people and are open to the public. If you would like to do a private walk, we may be able to arrange one for an additional fee. Please contact us at walks@culinarybackstreets.com for more information.

Can I get a discount if I join more than one walk?

Yes, we offer a 10% discount to those who join more than one walk. Please email us at walks@culinarybackstreets.com if you’d like to join multiple walks.

Are your walks suitable for people with food allergies?

This can vary based on a number of factors, including the food item in question. Please email us at walks@culinarybackstreets.com to discuss your situation before booking.

Are your walks suitable for vegetarians, pescetarians, and vegans?

This walk does include a couple of stops where non-meat dishes will not be available, however, at most stops a meat-free option is available.

Are your walks suitable for a gluten-free diet?

The Napoli cuisine is not very suitable for a gluten-free diet.

How physically demanding are the walks?

This walk covers a couple of kilometers of fairly flat terrain. It is not physically strenuous.

Can children join the walks?

Of course! We offer a 50% discount to children ages 12 and under, and we do not charge for children under the ages 6 and under.

Can you pick me up from my hotel? How will I return, once the tour is over?

Our tour prices don’t include transportation. If you book a tour, you’re responsible for arriving to the pre-arranged meeting spot on your own.

Once the tour is over, we will help you get an authorized, safe taxi to your hotel, or provide directions on public transportation, if you’re interested in that.

How much food will I get to try?

This is really up to you. We generally make between 9 and 12 eating stops on our walk and try to include some breaks from eating along the way. The price includes as much food as you’re open to trying. We offer a suggested portion size at each stop and you can take our recommendation if you’d like. Our walks often involve street food and sharing food.

Is Naples safe these days?

Yes, we find Naples a very safe place to explore.   We do hit some crowded markets and always suggest that you keep important valuables and passports at your hotel.

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