Uncovering Italy’s Superlatives in people, places and things

Ciro Oliva’s Naples

Naples’s most exciting chef shares his tips, from pizza to places

28 years old Italian Chef Ciro Oliva, in Naples. Italy
Ask anyone who knows and loves Naples where to go for Neapolitan pizza in the city, and chances are they’ll say Concettina ai Tre Santi.   Tucked in the once shady, now requalified Sanità neighbourhood, the restaurant has been around for generations – since 1951, to be precise – but over the past few years, it has turned into a bit of an institution in town, and not just for its pizza.   Dine there and you’ll see what we mean: from the cool atmosphere to the hip decor, the champagne you get served as you sit down and a pizza-themed tasting menu that’s a pure stroke of genius, Concettina offers a fresh glimpse of modern-day Naples: dynamic, ambitious, and decidedly fun. More than an eatery, it’s an experience, and something everyone visiting Campania’s capital should try at least once.
28 years old Italian Chef Ciro Oliva, in Naples, Concettina ai tre santi . Italy

To thank for all that is the chef at its helm, 28-year-old Ciro Oliva.

A fourth generation pizzaiolo and a true force of nature (some call him “the volcano of pizza”) Oliva has turned the classic pizzeria into a “Neapolitan pop icon,” as he likes to describe it, rebranding Concettina for its 70th anniversary in 2021, and revolutionising the all-Italian pie with innovative ingredients, wine pairings, and a focus on quality, local produce, and old-meets-new techniques.


As importantly, he has also been working to help requalify the Sanità, teaching local, often underprivileged kids the art of pizza to provide them with formative opportunities, and keep them off the streets.


His enthusiasm for what he does is infectious, and his love for Naples boundless. Which is why we asked him to share his favourite bits about the city – starting with pizza, of course.

What does Neapolitan pizza represent to you?

The story of my family, from grandmother Concettina to my father and then me. But also a unique traditional heritage to be preserved and handed down.

Guide us through your perfect day in Naples.

I like to start my mornings with coffee and pastarella (a sweet pastry) in one of the many exceptional pastry shops in the city, then take a stroll to discover the hidden beauties of my neighbourhood, the Sanità district. Lunch is with my family or by the sea, somewhere overlooking the Gulf of Naples. I usually spend the afternoon with my team, and dinner is obviously at my house, Concettina ai Tre Santi.

Naples is…

Colours, voices and light.

Chef Ciro Oliva, in Naples. Italy

What should be on the list of a traveller who comes to the city? Churches? Monuments? Neighbourhoods?

Everything! A lifetime is not enough to discover Naples. There are things hidden in every alley and every corner, from breath-taking Baroque buildings to the most famous castles in the city, such as Sant ‘Elmo, Castel dell’Ovo, and the Maschio Angioino.

The Green Boom, Ciro Oliva's Pizza. Naples Italy
The Green Boom

Share a secret about Naples!

Palazzo Sanfelice alla Sanità, with its magnificent double flight stairs by architect Ferdinando Sanfelice, is a real hidden gem. It was forgotten for years and has only been recently ‘rediscovered.’

The most photogenic place in town?

That’s a difficult question…Almost everywhere, really! I’d recommend the Posillipo hill and the Parco Virgiliano, but also the many, maze-like neighbourhoods, the seafront and the Vomero hill. Oh and the panoramic Via Petrarca and Via Orazio as well, two of my favourites.

Back to pizza: do you have a favourite?

Perhaps The Green Boom we make at Concettina. It’s a gastronomic pizza that’s all about highlighting vegetables and their freshness. I dedicated it to Dario Montoro, owner of Masseria Pigliuocco, one of Campania’s last and greatest farmers. It’s my homage to the bounty of produce that comes from our lands, and features mixed salad, baby carrots and baby radishes, American peanuts, balsamic vinegar of Modena and 48-month Parmigiano Reggiano, which are dressed right before serving.

What are your future plans?

To continue doing this job that I am very passionate about and that gives me immense satisfaction.


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