A Slice of Heaven! Naples Pizzeria Delivers ‘Papa Pizza’ to Popemobile

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Naples-Italy: Talk about speedy delivery. Pope Francis has said that all he wants is to go out one day to a pizzeria “without being recognized.” Wishful thinking, perhaps. But when you’re the the leader of the Catholic world pizza comes to you. Pizzeria owner Enzo Cacialli personally handed the pope a “Papa Pizza” on Sunday as his motorcade drove through Naples. But, not just any pizza: a Naples-style thin crust creation with “Il Papa” spelled out in dough and topped with yellow cherry tomatoes, a reference to the Vatican flag.

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A video shows Cacialli, co-owner of Pizzeria Don Ernesto, hopping a barrier with the pie in hand as the Popemobile approaches.”Papa! Papa!” he yelled as he ran toward the open-top vehicle, apparently unimpeded by papal minders.The video shows Pope Francis reaching down and receiving the offering. After the hand off Cacialli pumps his fist in the air, victorious, as the crowd cheers. Francis recently said in an interview that he liked being Pope but missed the anonymity, mostly because it prevented him from getting pizza at a pizzeria. The Bible does say “ask and you shall receive,” but the pope probably hardly expected anything like this.

Roberto Biscardi, a business associate at Pizzeria Don Ernesto, said he encouraged the pizza maker, Enzo Cacialli, to craft a pizza pie for the pope. He said they didn’t expect the pope would actually take the pie for security reasons, but “the bodyguard at some point realized our good intentions and invited Enzo to approach.”

“We are very religious here. And for us the Pope is someone truly special,” Biscardi said, which is why the pontiff got a special pie, matching the colors of the Vatican — yellow and white. The toppings were yellow cherry tomatoes and mozzarella di bufala. Biscardi said the offering wasn’t a marketing stunt. “We just wanted to give our passion for pizza to the pope,” he said.

Cacialli comes from a pizza-making family. His says his father made a pizza for President Bill Clinton when he visited Naples in 1994. When Cacialli learned Pope Francis was going to be in town he decided to follow in his father’s footsteps. “It’s really hard for me to understand what I managed to do,” Cacialli said. “Giving a pizza you made with your own hands to the Pope is very emotional. It’s really hard for me to express the value of this gesture for a man we really love and value, for a beautiful person full of humanity.” Cacialli is still waiting to hear whether Pope Francis enjoyed the edible offering.

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