A Taste of Italy Found in Naples

By: Rachelle Lucas

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In a city named Naples, it's not a surprise that I stumbled upon an authentic Italian eatery. Naples earned its name in the late 1800s when newspaper reporters wrote that Florida's perfect temperatures and abundance of fishing likened it to the peninsula of Italy. They even touted the area as having a "bay that surpasses that of Naples, Italy." I guess the name stuck. Today, Naples is still well known for having fresh seafood, and it's only fitting that this Florida city is also home to a genuine family-owned Italian restaurant, Bellini on Fifth.

Bellini has been a Naples landmark for 17 years. Here you'll find ample al fresco dining available on the largest outdoor patio on Fifth Avenue, two indoor dining rooms, a bar and delicious Italian meals made with simple fresh ingredients and authentic family recipes.

A friend and I ducked into Bellini for lunch on an usually wet and rainy day. It was like stepping into the warmth and comfort of your grandmother's kitchen. Owner and chef Maria Furetta along with her son, Max, and daughter, Stephania, welcomed us as if we were family and quickly served hot cappuccinos and homemade gnocchi to brighten our gray afternoon. With a sparkle in her eye and friendly smile, Maria shared with us stories of growing up in Torino and learning to cook in her grandmother's kitchen. Food has always been her passion and it certainly shows.

Bellini's menu offers a variety homemade pastas and traditional Italian classics including impepata di cozze col prosecco, spaghetti alla pescatora and risotto ai funghi porcini.

For dessert, I highly recommend the Torta della Nonna, a traditional Tuscan dessert that combines a silky vanilla cream with a hint of lemon in a delicate pastry crust covered in crushed pine nuts, almonds and powdered sugar.

If You Go

  • Reservations are recommended for dinner: 239-261-1117
  • Shop Fifth Avenue and stop by for lunch.
  • BelliniOnFifth.com
  • 445 Fifth Avenue South, Naples, Florida 34102


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