Who is Gino Sorbillo?
Who is Gino Sorbillo? For me, he is one of the most amazing people that I had the pleasure to meet. I think that his attitude is the quintessence of Neapolitan courtesy.
For the world, Gino Sorbillo is the ambassador of the Neapolitan pizza. He is the owner of a pizzeria located in Naples, Milan and New York, and a frequent guest of Italian television programs such as Masterchef and La Prova del Cuoco.
What’s more, the elegant Sorbillo, usually dressed in a white and neat apron, changed the meaning of all “pizzaioli” in Italy and around the world, once and for all. He proved that this profession can be perceived completely differently than before – with class and respect, and the process of preparing a pizza should be considered as the form of art.
His sincerity and goodness charmed me the most, because Gino, apart from all the titles and merits, is just a very nice man.
There are rumors that Gino takes care about his social media profiles related to his brand by himself. Everything seems to be true, because when I’ve send a message to him, I didn’t expect that I would get any answer! Especially that his Instagram profile is following by… over 250,000 pizza fans. However, this amount didn’t stop me to write this message. At least, did I have something to lose?
I told to myself that I need to come back with some incredibly interesting story from Naples which is the world capital of pizza. The destiny made it easier for me to fulfill this task, because the only thing what was important while buying tickets was the tempting price (250 PLN two-way), not a special event.
A moment before arrival, I found out that exactly at the same time as I will be in Naples there is the PIZZA FESTIVAL, called as NAPOLI PIZZA VILLAGE.
Pizza festival in Naples – Napoli Pizza Village
When I heard about the event for the first time – Napoli Pizza Village, I couldn’t believe that such a thing really exists. How could I’ve lived in such unconscious for so many years?!
Even in my wildest dreams, I didn’t think that such a beautiful initiative was organized anywhere in the world! This unique holiday of pizza takes place in one of the most beautiful places of Naples – along the promenade on via Caracciolo, with a unique view of Mount Vesuvius. Every year in June this area turns into the largest pizzeria of the world for ten days.
The idea is simple. For 12 euros, you buy a voucher for a pizza, a drink, something sweet or gelato and coffee. Then, the most difficult task – you have to choose one restaurant from the top 50 pizzerias in the world. Fortunately, Napoli Pizza Village lasts 10 days, so if you have the ambition to try pizzas from all stands, you can easily take on this challenge! Entry to the Festival area is free.
The event is similar like our little Polish festivities, with the difference that instead of various dishes – grilled sausage, pork neck or shashlik, the offer of each stand consistently includes only Neapolitan pizza. Isn’t it a paradise?!
What’s more, there’re concerts of Italian artists, culinary workshops, international competitions for the best #pizzaiolo, lectures about pizza and other fun things.
I think I don’t have to say that everyone at this Festival is happy and smiles a lot? It’s well known that jump of endorphins after eating a delicious pizza are one of the strongest.
Okay, but what connects the Pizza Festival and Gino Sorbillo?
HOW I MET GINO SORBILLO
I wrote to Sorbillo just because of curiosity. I sent him a link to the blog and described my passion for eating pizza and asked if there would be a possibility to meet during my short stay in Naples. At the same day, he wrote back to me “ok va bene”, that is “fine”.
I must admit that I didn’t expect such an answer. I was very happy and wrote to him when I was there. In the next answer I got … his phone number! I thought to myself that this must be a really open person – but in the end, Neapolitans are famous for that, right?
We made an appointment at 3:30 pm in his pizzeria, where I barely get there without a queue (if looks could kill a crowd of people behind me would do this at that moment). However, somehow I burst in and then I realized that Gina Sorbillo wasn’t there. I was surprised because the same day we’ve exchanged a few messages. I showed them to his brother, Toto Sorbillo. Everyone in the restaurant was very concerned about the situation and Toto said he would contact Gino and tell him that I was here.
An hour and a half later, I received a message from Gino that he is just coming back from Rome and asking for my phone number. A moment later an Italian number calls me. I was slightly scared about the conversation in Italian, but I had no choice so and picked up. He asked carelessly “Come Stai?” (How are you). A little surprised, I said “bene” (well).
He asked if I will be at Napoli Pizza Village in the evening and how many people we are. He said he will be waiting for me there.
Getting to Via Caracciolo wasn’t the simplest task (a lot of metro transfers), but eventually we managed to get there. We’ve arrived perfectly for the sunset. Watching this at this place, just before eating the best pizza in the world it’s like to win a lottery! (I wrote about this place here).
We sat on the rocks for a moment to enjoy the beautiful view, and then we went to Napoli Pizza Village. I looked for Gino’s stand – but I couldn’t find him anywhere. It turned out that there are two, and he is on this next one. I come up, look around a bit lost, but Gino has already spotted me. He greeted with me and my friend and … invited to his table.
I was a bit surprised – in the end Sorbillo is really known and respected in Naples and Italy, and it was the first day of Napoli Pizza Village, on which he was undoubtedly a star. I was sitting with Marta next to him, among his friends?
It wasn’t that we were there completely anonymously in his company. Gino, as a very cultured man, introduced us to everyone. He introduced me as a blogger from Poland, and a moment later, as a friend.
I was sitting next to Fiorella Breglia, a beautiful and charismatic influencer who is a instagram bloggerfrom the profile Cucino per amore. In the front of me was sitting the owner of the official Neapolitan pizza profiles in social media. Gino was torn apart between giving interviews or posed for a photo, however despite fatigue, which was painted on his face, he was incredibly nice to everyone.
He asked what we want to eat and what to drink. He brought us two big Margherita’s and water with cups. He asked what I wanted to know about him, where I was from, what I was doing in my life.
And so I was sitting with Marta, having behind our backs the historic Vesuvius, a beautiful moon overhead, the best Neapolitan pizza on the table, and a really special company. Sorbillo’s friends were extremely nice and even appreciated my knowledge of Italian – this evening was an extraordinary gymnastics for my mind.
Honestly, I didn’t expect that as a completely foreign person, I would be so incredibly nice welcome by a famous master of pizza and his friends. That evening, I felt like I was part of his family. Maybe not family, but his friends for sure – even though we were completely strangers an hour before.
I wish I could experience the same things in Poland. However, they are rare, especially among people who somehow “matter.” Unfortunately, I haven’t had the opportunity to experience such kindness and cordiality in Poland.
I’ll remember the evening of eating pizzas with Gino Sorbillo and his friends at the Pizza Festival in Naples forever. A small petition to everyone: let each of us be a little Gino Sorbillo, and the world will be more beautiful and much more pleasant. :))
So, are you booking tickets to Naples for the next year’s Napoli Pizza Village? Apparently, it is supposed to take place between 22 and 30 of June (but better check this date!).
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