Napolità: A Guide to Naples’ Famous Stuffed Pastry


Have you ever tasted napolità, the delicious pastry that Naples is famous for? You’re missing out if you haven’t. Napolità are little pillows of heaven – sweet ricotta cheese stuffed inside a flaky pastry shell and topped with colorful sprinkles or a drizzle of chocolate. Bite into one and you’ll instantly understand why Neapolitans are so passionate about their city’s signature treat.

Naples, located in southern Italy, is known for many culinary delights from pizza and tomato sauce to espresso coffee. But napolità reign supreme. Walk down any street in Naples and you’ll spot people carrying boxes of the colorful pastries, ready to gift to friends or enjoy themselves. Once you’ve tasted your first napolità, you’ll be hooked. The creamy ricotta filling is lightly sweetened and pairs perfectly with the buttery pastry. No wonder napolità have been a Neapolitan tradition for centuries.

This guide will give you an inside look at napolità – where to find the best ones in Naples, how they’re made, their history, and even recipes so you can recreate them at home. By the end, you’ll be a napolità expert and ready to book your flight to Naples for an authentic taste of this heavenly treat. Who knew stuffed pastry could be so irresistible? Get ready to fall in love with napolità!

What Is Napolità?

What Is Napolità?

Napolità refers to the essence and delights of Neapolitan culture, including its famous pastries. One popular treat is sfogliatella, a flaky clam-shaped pastry filled with ricotta, semolina, milk, and candied citrus zest. Napolità pastries are known for their rich flavors and authentic Neapolitan cuisine, offering a journey into the culinary traditions of Naples.

Sfogliatella comes in two varieties: riccia, with crunchy, layered pastry leaves, and frolla, with a softer, crumblier crust. Both are equally delicious. The ricotta-semolina filling, called cresciuta, provides a perfect balance of sweet and savory. Candied orange or lemon zest adds a bright pop of citrus.

Other popular Napolità pastries include zeppole, fried dough balls dusted in powdered sugar; baba al rum, sponge cake soaked in rum syrup; and torta caprese, a flourless chocolate almond cake. They’re all meant for sharing, so grab some friends and dig in!

Napolità pastries showcase the city’s history of cultural influences, from Spanish to French to Arabic. But Neapolitans have made these treats distinctly their own. If you want to experience the essence of Naples, start your tasting tour at a historic pastry shop like Pintauro, Attanasio, or Scafari – they’ve been perfecting the art of Napolità for generations. Buon appetito!

With a bite of sfogliatella’s crispy, buttery layers or a sip of baba al rum’s boozy syrup, you’ll understand why Napolità means paradise.

The History and Origins of Napolità

Napolità finds its origins in the diverse cultural influences that have shaped the Campania region throughout history. Naples, in particular, has been inhabited by Greeks, Romans, Normans, Spanish, and others, contributing to the origins of Napolità cooking.

The Early Influences

The Greeks first settled in Naples around the 8th century BC, bringing ingredients like olive oil, basil, and oregano that remain staples of Neapolitan cuisine today. The Romans introduced techniques like wood-burning ovens to make pizza. After the fall of Rome, the Normans ruled Southern Italy for over 200 years, influencing Napolità with spices and dried fruits.

The Spanish and Beyond

In the 16th century, the Spanish brought tomatoes, cocoa, and peppers. Tomatoes were first used in Napolità pizza, and chocolate was used in desserts. These influences combined to shape Napolità as we now know it.

Over time, poorer Neapolitans could not afford certain ingredients, substituting them for more affordable options. Ricotta replaced mozzarella, and tomato sauce replaced more expensive ingredients. This resourcefulness resulted in the simple yet bold flavors of Napolità cuisine.

Napolità pizza originates from Naples, Italy and has a rich history dating back to the 16th century. It’s no wonder that with such a unique culinary lineage, Napolità has become world famous. The next time you bite into a slice of Neapolitan pizza or a rum-soaked babà, appreciate the diverse cultural influences that gave rise to this delicious tradition.

Fillings and Variations of the Classic Dessert

When it comes to the fillings of Napolità, the possibilities are endless. Two of the most popular variations are ricotta and nut-based.

Ricotta Filling

A classic ricotta filling combines the mild, creamy cheese with candied fruit and cinnamon. To make it, mix ricotta, sugar, egg yolks, and candied fruit like cherries or citrus peel. Add cinnamon, vanilla, and lemon zest for extra flavor. This sweet yet tangy filling pairs perfectly with the buttery pastry dough.

Nut-Based Fillings

If you prefer a richer, nuttier filling, choose one with chocolate, almonds, and hazelnuts. Grind the nuts with sugar and cocoa powder, then mix into a paste with egg yolks, butter, and milk or cream. For extra decadence, add chocolate chips or shavings. The nut filling has an intense, robust flavor that chocolate lovers will adore.

Other popular fillings for Napolità include:

  • Jam or fruit preserves
  • Pastry cream
  • Zabaglione (Marsala-flavored custard)
  • Nut butters like peanut butter, almond butter or pistachio butter

No matter which filling you choose, Napolità provides a satisfying combination of flaky pastry and rich, creamy filling in every bite. Try different fillings to find your favorite, or stick with the classic ricotta for an authentic Neapolitan experience. With so many options, Napolità has something for every taste.

Where to Find the Best Napolità in Naples

If you want to taste the best Napolità in Naples, head to some of the city’s most iconic pizzerias and bakeries. These spots are renowned for serving up Naples’ famous stuffed pastry in all its sweet, flaky glory.

L’antica Pizzeria Da Michele

Opened in 1870, Da Michele is one of Naples’ oldest and most beloved pizzerias. While they’re famous for their simple yet delicious Neapolitan pizza, Da Michele also makes Napolità filled with ricotta, almond paste, and candied fruit. Bite into the golden pastry crust to discover a sweet, creamy filling. Da Michele uses only the freshest, highest quality ingredients, so you know their Napolità will be utterly delicious.

Starita a Materdei

Another pizzeria that’s considered an institution in Naples, Starita a Materdei has been serving customers since 1901. In addition to their mouthwatering pizza, Starita is also known for their exceptional Napolità. Their pastry is filled with ricotta, almond paste, candied fruit, and sometimes a touch of chocolate. The fillings are made fresh daily using traditional recipes and ingredients. For an authentic taste of Naples, you can’t go wrong with the Napolità at Starita.

Quartieri Spagnoli

If you want to fully immerse yourself in Neapolitan culture, head to the Quartieri Spagnoli district. In this historic neighborhood, you’ll discover tiny bakeries and pastry shops that have been making Napolità for generations. Strike up a conversation with the shop owners and you may even get a peek into their kitchens to see the pastry being made. The Quartieri Spagnoli is a fantastic place to wander, eat, and soak in the city’s vibrant atmosphere. Who knows – you may stumble upon the best Napolità of your life!

In Naples, the birthplace of Napolità, you’ll have no trouble finding this delicious pastry. But for an authentic taste of the city and its rustic yet refined culinary traditions, visit Da Michele, Starita, or the Quartieri Spagnoli. You’re bound to discover Napolità that’s simple, sweet, and simply unforgettable.

How to Make Traditional Napolità at Home

To make traditional Napolità at home, you’ll need to start with the dough. Mix warm water, yeast, salt, and flour in a bowl and stir to form a dough. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until smooth, then cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 to 2 hours until doubled in size.

Make the Filling

While the dough rises, make the filling. Simmer crushed tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, basil, oregano, and salt to make the sauce. Cook ground beef or sausage if using. Drain excess grease. Mix the meat with the sauce and ricotta, parmesan and mozzarella cheeses. Add egg, parsley, salt and pepper.

Shape the Pastries

Punch down the dough. Knead briefly then roll out into rectangles, about 1/4-inch thick. Place spoonfuls of the filling over one half of each dough rectangle. Fold the empty half over and seal the edges with a fork dipped in water.

Bake and Serve

Place pastries on a greased baking sheet, brush with egg wash and cut a few slits in the top. Bake at 400 F for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Dust with sugar and serve warm.

Napolità are best enjoyed fresh out of the oven. The sweet tomato filling paired with melted cheese and a flaky pastry crust is simply delicious. No trip to Naples is complete without sampling an authentic Napolità. Now you can make these tasty stuffed pastries at home and experience a taste of Naples whenever you like! Buon appetito!


Now that you know what makes Napolità so special, it’s time to treat yourself. The next time you’re strolling through the streets of Naples, stop by one of the many pastry shops and order a fresh Napolità. Bite into the crisp yet tender pastry shell and let the sweet almond filling melt in your mouth. As the aroma of orange blossom water and vanilla wafts up, you’ll understand why this treat has endured for centuries. Napolità is a bite-sized piece of Neapolitan history, culture, and joie de vivre. So go on, indulge yourself—you’re in Naples after all! A city where life is meant to be savored, and pastries are meant to be devoured. Buon appetito!

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