Posted by: Debra Kolkka | October 22, 2011

My very first spaghetti vongole

The first time I ate spaghetti vongole was almost 40 years ago. It was memorable for 2 reasons. It was absolutely delicious and I ate it in Naples, by the sea, with Castel Dell’Ovo as my view. While we were eating, a cherubic gentleman serenaded us by playing Volare on his violin.
I am in Naples now and I just had to go back to do it again.
Castel Dell’Ovo means egg castle. It got it’s name because the Roman Poet Virgil, who also practiced sorcery, hid an egg in the basement of the castle. The place where the egg was kept was heavily locked because “all the facts and the future of Castle Marino” depended on the egg. The Normans and later the Angiovines, turned it into a military fortress, as it stands today.





I had no idea where the restaurant from 40 years ago would be, so I just wandered around until I spotted one with great looking seafood on display.





Massimo, the waiter suggested I try some mixed seafood as a starter. How could I refuse?


Then it was time for the spaghetti vongole.



It was as good as I remembered. I won’t be waiting another 40 years to come back to Naples.
Look for Massimo at Ristorante del Borgo in the little square on Castel dell’Ovo


The guide books say that newly married couples like to have photographs taken at the castle. Of course I saw a happy couple posing as I crossed the walkway. I had to go back the next day as I had forgotten to get the name of the restaurant, which is why these photos are taken in the middle of the day.


Why wouldn’t you, when this is the backdrop?


Inside the castle there is a large painting of the area in it’s heyday. Naples must have looked amazing to those sailing into the bay at the time.


No doubt modern adventurers who arrive in the huge cruise ships that line the harbour are still impressed.


  1. Love vongole, love the castle, love anything to do with Napoli, look forward to more posts.

    • I love Naples. I have walked until my feet cry for rest. It is incredibly difficult to photograph this city, it is just so full of stuff.

  2. Yummy! “Fritto misto di mare”… a great choice in Naples. They also serve a good one closer to home at the Cinque Terre. “Spaguetti con le Vongole” is another great choice, although I particularl like “Impepata di Cozze” (Mussels in their own sauce), very simple to make.
    Naples is a fascinating place. A bit dirty…. but fascinating.
    Enjoy your stay!

    • We love Il Fortino at Forte dei Marmi for seafood. Spaghetti vongole has been a favorite since I first ate it here all those years ago.

  3. Debra, if you ever feel like a plate of spaghetti alle arrogosto and blog it I may love you for ever. I haven’t eaten that dish for 11 years, and yet just the memory of it puts a happy smile on my face. The spaghetti vongole hasn’t quite the same memory association, but geez, I’d happily devour that one too. I’m glad your dish was just as good as you remembered it.

    • I will find it. Perhaps Forte die Marmi will have it, or Sorrento where I am headed now. I am sitting at the port in Napoli waiting for the boat. Vesuvius is looking good in front of me.

  4. Naples- how fabulous. I love the colour of the evening sky in the castle photos. The vongole looks pretty good too! The photo of the razor clams bought back a lot of memories. They are one of my favourites. Have fun

    • Naples is very fabulous and it is a beautiful autumn day.

  5. Okay, hate to admit it, but I’m the neaderthal from Kentucky who has never eaten vongole. But, goodness, it looks AMAZING!

    • You will have to come to Italy to try vongole for the first time.

  6. Yum! I love this dish, and now make it at home!

    • I haven’t tried cooking it yet, but I will.

  7. This is one of those times I curse my seafood allergy. I have a feeling if I could eat seafood, I would love it. But even smelling shellfish cooking can give me a reaction. Curses! Beautiful Pics.

  8. Yet another great post! Your food photos make me so incredibly hungry! I love good food!

  9. Gorgeous. Love Vongole. So tasty. I remember my first Vongole, nothing as amazing as yours, but really amazed me how dang brilliant those little morsels of meat are.

  10. Yes, Buon Appetito!!!

  11. Spectacular!

    • Naples was a very pleasant surprise for me.

  12. It may sound strange but the first spaghetti vongole I ever had was in Japan! They love it over there! 🙂

    • It would taste just as fabulous there I’m sure.

  13. What an imposing castle – and that dish looks delicious!

  14. Love spaghetti vongole. Might have to drag out my recipe for summer 🙂

  15. When you want to try cooking it, do you know the fish stall at the Fornoli market every Friday morning? He comes straight from Viareggio and usually has excellent vongole, plus a lot of other fantastic fish. And if you can understand his mile-a-minute Italian, he’ll dictate recipes for everything he sells. Another Bagni di Lucca treasure.

    • Thanks for the tip. I will look for him.

  16. That is my first time I have visited here. I’ve discovered so much interesting stuff in your blog. From the tons of comments on your articles,to all the totally different posts. I guess I am not the one one having all the good reading here! keep up the great work. Thank you…

    • Thank you for your comments.

  17. That looks like an incredible experience. Talk about a step back in time.

    • It was fun to try something in the same place 40 years later. I have never forgotten my first spaghetti vongole.

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  19. […] Naples for the first time and fell in love with it.   the heart of Napoli   Click here and here to see my adventures in Naples.   In S’Agata, near Sorrento I visited the family of my […]

  20. Going through your old posts Debra. Its a great way to gain knowledge.

    • Thank you, I use my old posts to when I revisit a place.

      • It’s sad people didn’t read so much that time. I will promote your posts on twitter tonight

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