In the centre of Caiazzo is a street jam-packed with people waiting for one thing – a taste of Franco Pepe’s pizza. Since he opened his pizzeria Pepe in Grani in 2012, he has transformed the area from a sleepy, rural place into a destination for diners across Italy and beyond. With Napoli – the home of pizza – around thirty miles south, Franco decided to stay in Caiazzo as it’s where his father and grandfather set up their bakery and restaurant.
The pizzas are all entirely handmade and the recipe for the dough changes depending on a number of factors, such as the strength of the flour, humidity and heat. Toppings are locally-sourced, with chickpeas, endive, figs and lardo among some of the more unusual ingredients. The number of pizzas on his menu continues to grow, but each one is carefully thought out and cooked in a specific way, to bring out as much flavour and texture as possible.
The restaurant itself is housed in a stone-walled building over three floors, and while a pizza with a drink will cost you less than €10, there is often a long wait for a table unless you make a reservation. There are plenty of bars nearby, however, so once you put your name down you can leave and come back later. The interior is stripped-back and relaxed, with modern touches throughout, such as the large screen showing a live feed of what’s happening in the kitchen. An extensive, well thought out wine list and selection of craft beers means there’s plenty on offer to drink, and the sommelier is always more than happy to help you choose the best one to go with your pizza.