NAPLES, Italy — 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 pie 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.
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.
“I gave him the pizza and with a smile he said ‘thank you,'” Cacialli told CNN.
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.