Sweet it is to step into Cerriglio

You only have to walk 20 metres down the narrowest alley in Naples from Via del Cerriglio to find yourself catapulted into another era. The oldest inn in Naples, where you can taste the true flavours of traditional Neapolitan cuisine in a warm and welcoming atmosphere, has reopened its doors. We look forward to welcoming you to this place steeped in history and treating you to a welcome drink.

History of the inn

In the alleyways of Cerriglio lies one of the most famous old taverns in Naples, the Locanda del Cerriglio, located between Piazzetta di Porto and Vicolo di Santa Maria la Nova. The story goes that it was already well known in the late 14th century, both for the quality of its cuisine and wine, and for the large number of visitors. It was a place of refreshment and a place to stay, favoured by nobles who wanted to experience the thrill of meeting the common people, by plebeians who fed themselves there for next to nothing, by women of ill repute who were looking for clients, and by artists in search of inspiration. Among the greats who frequented it were: Giovan Battista Della Porta, Giambattista Basile, Giulio Cesare Cortese, Sgruttendio, Giovan Battista del Tufo, Carlo Celano, Benedetto Croce, Emmanuele Bidera, Vincenzo D’Auria, Antonio Genovesi,Gonsalvo Carelli and Michelangelo Merisi. The tavern is also famous for the vicious assault in October 1609 on the painter Michelangelo Merisi, known as “Caravaggio”, just outside the inn. That night, as people drank and laughed, four men snuck silently into the inn. Caravaggio, perhaps drunk on wine, was punched, and fell to the ground bleeding and stunned by the blows. The artist emerged from this attack alive but badly bruised on his body, and his face and ego were deeply scarred. But what were the circumstances of the attack? All this remains a mystery. Among the many theories, it is believed that “the disfigurement” of Caravaggio was carried out as revenge for an insult to their honour and reputation, as was the code of the underworld at the time. Now completely renovated, the inn has reopened its doors and still serves authentic Neapolitan specialities in a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Let’s eat, my friends, and then drink while there’s still oil in the lantern: Who knows if we’ll all be together in the afterlife! Who knows if there are taverns in the afterlife!

Quotes about Locanda del Cerriglio

Authoritative literary accounts give a clear insight into the importance of the Cerriglio tavern. “Our favourite tavern, where we sing and whistle… so, sweet it is to step into the Cerriglio” excerpt from Muse Napoletane by G. Basile “Lo Cerriglio ‘ncantato” Heroic poem by G. C. Cortese