Is the Best Pizza in Italy 2 Hours Outside Naples?

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A trio of pies from Pizzeria Anna, in Agropoli, Italy. [Photograph: guardian.co.uk]

I was a little disappointed by this story in the Guardian headlined "Is This the Best Pizza in Italy?" I first spotted it when @msenese and @mmm_pizza tweeted me the link (thanks, guys!), both saying, "The Guardian dispatches critic to review Anna's, the latest 'best pizza in Italy,' 2hrs south of Naples."

I mean, how could you not be intrigued by the possibility of the best pizza in Italy being outside of Naples? That's like saying the best pizza in the U.S. is in North Dakota. It very well might be, but you'd click on the link to that story, right?

Anyway, here's a snip:

I suppose I was expecting somewhere grand—an old palazzo perhaps, a temple to Italian cuisine—but Pizzeria Anna, in the small town of Agropoli, is a place without pretension. The dining room is brightly lit, none of the chairs or tables match and there are three TVs showing football and game shows. I ordered the pizza a sorpresa, the surprise, which turned out to be divided into eight sections, each representing a different selection from the menu. It arrived like a painting, like a masterpiece you see, smell and eat. The base was light and crisp—not too crisp, but nowhere near soft or spongy. One section was a sample of the remarkable and rare duchessa—a ham and mashed potato pizza, which tasted much better than it sounds, and was not at all stodgy or bland.

Another section held perfectly cooked squid and huge, succulent prawns. Yet another was a triangle of salad, with rocket leaves, slivers of carrot and what I think were pumpkin flowers. Elsewhere there was creamy mozzarella, fragrant basil and a rich, sweet, almost fruity tomato sauce. I travel to Italy regularly and I eat plenty of pizza so believe me when I tell you that this was extraordinary.

Yes, the pizza actually does sound good and sounds like it has some interesting toppings. I'm sure it probably is quite good. But somehow, this snip and the rest of the article do not seem to make a convincing case. I don't know. I don't feel it from the descriptions in the Guardian.

Then again, if it truly is the best in Italy, how could you possibly hope to convey that in words.

Also, another thought: The best pizza in the U.S. might just be in Phoenix. And who would have ever thought that?

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