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Lorenzo Colella, who works at Joe's Pizza in New Canaan, is an artist. Maybe not in the conventional sense, but he is an artist nonetheless.
He doesn't paint, he doesn't sculpt, nor does he write poetry. His art is pizza and his studio is his pizzeria.
His giant frame belies his gentle touch. Colella is a master craftsman at work. He opens the oven door to cast a critical eye over his work and like a potter at the kiln, only he knows when the time is right. Here is a man driven by the pursuit of perfection. The impatient customer learns to appreciate that great art can never rushed.
Naples is the spiritual home of "pittsa" and for hundreds of years, Neopolitans have crafted the finest pizza known to man. They are fiercely protective of this long and celebrated history. They have served pizza to peasants and royalty alike. They have local regulations that protect the exact provenance of their pizza dough. Suffice to say, the average Neopolitan takes his pizza very seriously indeed and it is a passion alive and well in this small corner of New Canaan.
The pizzeria is decorated with family memories and nods to its Italian heritage. Lorenzo's father proudly stands at the oven of their first restaurant. Legends of Italian football look down from the walls; the imperious Dino Zoff, the forever menacing Claudio Gentile and the often controversial Paulo Rossi.
While the large screen TV broadcasts the latest struggle for the Jets, our man is happier to discuss the fortunes of his beloved Napoli and football of a slightly more European "flavor".
Great art can be subjective, it can be divisive but it is always driven by belief. Food is an art that comes from the soul. Even the name Lorenzo seems to echo of the great Renaissance men ... da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael and .. .maybe Lorenzo?
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