In the heart of Naples, a viral sensation is born from the hands of a pizzaiolo, Ciro di Maio. Now working in Brescia, Ciro has taken his craft beyond traditional bounds, teaching the art of pizza making to inmates, and bringing to life a culinary tribute that resonates with the soul of his hometown, Frattamaggiore. This isn’t just any pizza; it’s a masterpiece at his restaurant “San Ciro” that cradles the famed Mozzarella di Bufala Campana DOP from Mondragone in its palm, a symbol, as Di Maio puts it, “of the world itself.”
Maradona and the 1986 Mexico World Cup
This innovation has its roots deep in the passionate world of football, specifically the quarter-finals of the 1986 Mexico World Cup, a match that saw England versus Argentina and a goal that would forever change the narrative of football history. Diego Maradona, significantly shorter than the goalkeeper, leaped and scored with his hand, a move that went unnoticed by the referee but saw Maradona urging his teammates to celebrate to validate the goal. The victory was monumental, leading Argentina to World Cup glory, and Maradona’s clever maneuver was christened the “Hand of God.”
Mando di Dios Pizza
Ciro di Maio’s latest creation, the “Mano de Dios” pizza, is a culinary homage to this iconic moment. Crafted in the shape of a hand, it features a generous and succulent Mozzarella di Bufala Campana DOP at its center, adorned with cherry tomatoes directly from San Ciro, fresh basil, and Terra di Bari DOP oil. The presentation of this unique dish, shared on social media, quickly garnered hundreds of likes, becoming as viral as the legendary goal it commemorates.
Pizzaiolo, Ciro di Maio’s Inspiration
Love for Naples, Frattamaggiore, my land, and Maradona inspired me to create this pizza,” says Ciro, proud of his innovative dish. His creation has not only delighted locals but also attracted people from afar, eager to taste this culinary tribute. Ciro explains to his customers, “The mozzarella on the palm is like the world, as if it could be stopped by the Hand of God, by Maradona’s hand, beloved by us all.”
Ciro Di Maio’s journey began in Frattamaggiore, born to a homemaker mother and a father with a tumultuous past. His career in pizza making started early and led him to Lombardy in search of new opportunities. “San Ciro,” his venture in Brescia, is not just a pizzeria but a beacon of social projects, paying homage to his grandparents and continuing his father’s legacy of helping those in need.
In 2023, Ciro embarked on a mission to teach pizza art to inmates at the Canton Mombello prison in Brescia, a project aimed at giving them a chance for a new beginning. This initiative, supported by local officials and the prison director, is just one of the many ways Ciro has chosen to give back to the community, proving that his pizzas are not just food, but symbols of hope and transformation.
“San Ciro” stands as a testament to the authenticity of Neapolitan pizza, crafted with the finest ingredients and a dedication to tradition. Yet, it’s Ciro’s commitment to social causes, from educating inmates to helping the youth in Naples’ Rione Sanità, that truly sets him apart. His story is one of passion, innovation, and the belief that pizza, much like the “Hand of God,” has the power to change lives.
So would you try this pizza creation?