Where Pizza and Crime Meet | Naples


If I had to choose the place where I want to watch my last sunset, I would pick Gaiola Island. Wonder why? Because this place makes me feel deeply melancholic and nostalgic. There is also something mysterious and dramatic about it.

It was my last day in Naples. The city that you cannot be indifferent to. You either love it or hate it. And since I’m a weirdo who seeks for beauty in everything that is not that obvious and apparent, and who enjoys nuisance, boisterousness, and boldness, I fell in love with the place at first sight.



I don’t know if it were circumstances or my hidden fascination that made me postpone the moment to see Gaiola Island. The place I wanted to visit since the first time I saw it in a music video. So, in my last day’s schedule, I didn’t want to include anything else but Gaiola and the culinary frying pizza experience, which is a vital part of Naples.

Gaiola is actually a part of the Gaiola Underwater Park, which protects the Gulf of Naples’ unique wildlife and its ancient Roman ruins, including the temple of Venus. They say that the poet Virgil taught his students on the islands or in the remains of the Roman harbor, which are both now sunken below the water.



What made Gaiola more interesting to me was the curse, which weighs upon the place. Or so said the legend.

Darmon Richter in his article about world’s most cursed islands describes that in the 1920s the villa on Gaiola Island was owned by the Swiss businessman Hans Braun. He was later found murdered on the island, his body wrapped up in a rug. Not long after, his wife drowned in the sea. The next owner was German Otto Grunback who was taken by a heart attack while living on the island. Maurice-Yves Sandoz, another owner, would later commit suicide in a Swiss mental hospital. The next, a German industrialist by the name of Baron Karl Paul Langheim, was plunged into economic ruin and disaster. Years later, the head of Fiat, Gianni Agnelli, would buy the island villa. Not long after, his only son committed suicide, leaving him with no heir. When he began grooming his nephew Umberto Agnelli to take over the company, Umberto contracted a rare form of cancer and died at the age of 33. The multi-billionaire Paul Getty was the next to buy the island, just a little while before his grandson was kidnapped. The last investor to attempt to tame Gaiola was Gianpasquale Grappone… who ended up being incarcerated when his insurance company collapsed.Nowadays, the villa on Gaiola Island remains uninhabited as it slowly falls into ruin.

Guess why?



Ok, enough murders. Time to eat.

Neapolitan pizza is the one from which everything has started, and the art of its making is included on UNESCO’s list of intangible cultural heritage. I’m sorry to disappoint you: I’m aware that now your whole world can collapse, but what you eat in your „Italian restaurant” outside Naples is more likely not a real pizza.

And beyond pizza napoletana, we have pizza fritta (fried pizza) that is a traditional „fast-food” of Campania, Puglia, and Sicily.






You must try this one while in Naples. And what I can suggest – go to the most hidden, creepy place you might find in one of those narrow streets of the capital of Campania. And if you meet my fried pizza master, say „tutt’ a post’ compa?”




Bonus shot of me taken by my friend.


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4 thoughts on “Where Pizza and Crime Meet | Naples

  1. I got here from instagram locations, for me Gaiola is a place of happiness and relax, I go there as much as I can in summertime.
    It’s quite surprising to see it in such melancholic colors, but these are really nice pictures nonetheless. (I noticed some green fringing in some of them tho)

    BTW I also like the idea of the TAO inspired shutter logo.


    1. Hi, I’m glad you like it. It’s a funny coincidence because the logo that you like was designed by somebody also called Antonio.
      I’ve never had a chance to see Gaiola during the summertime, maybe that’s why my photographs are not that cordial. Or maybe just because this place makes me feel melancholic. Everything is subjective.

      Thanks a lot for the comment,

  2. Gaiola give you some melancholic felling because it is the symbol of the force of Time on the vicissitudes of humans, is the decadence of our modern history – the beauty of the sea, the summer colors do not erase those traces, this fact – a strong and submerged history, the melancholy of the exile of the people stayed there, from the failures of those who have lived there, the disappointments of lost loves that have stayed there from Douglas to Paul Getty then Agnelli, Sandoz, Langheim all portraits of man’s melancholy, man decadence and the bounties of strong men. The Gaiola has a strange energy and if you must associate it with a feeling its natural to be associate with what Agnese write here, and the colors as well are only those of melancholy that here you can see.I totaly agree whit the observation on Gaiola but i do not whit the association “mafia-pizza” that is the stereotype that everyone brings home that evrybody have in mind before come here: a much more complex and complicated territory-sometime sad, sometime shit-sometime bad-sometime unique-sometime happy complicate where the word “Mafia, Crime and so on” can not be used so easy. For the rest I am happy that someone take part of this mess-melting-pot of the Mediterraneo and write and post some photo and impression about it, happy to read that, happy to see that not everything can take the sea away. thanks for this article and goodluck for the next. Totò from Capua.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment, Toto. Southern Italy is one of the most interesting and breathtaking places in Europe, unfortunately quite underestimated lately. I promise more articles about Campania. I have dozens of photographs from there and many memories overflowing with emotions. I was also lucky to have the best, local guide around the region, I could ever wish for. I’ve learned a lot from him so I can share my knowledge and experience now. I hope you gonna enjoy my writing.
      Thank one more time and all the best for you!

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