It’s taken 8 years, many legal documents and a whole city of pizza makers to come together but now, Neapolitan pizza makers (Pizzaioli) can rejoice as they have officially been recognised as a UNESCO profession.
The UNESCO committee decided to unanimously vote for the only Italian submission this year recognising how culinary creativeness from the Neapolitan community is like no other in the world. “Victory! Our gastronomic identity protected across the world” exclaimed Maurizio Martina, minister for agriculture in a tweet at the announcement. In a statement, Martina said the recognition came after years of campaigning. “The art of the Neapolitan pizza-maker contains Italian know-how … especially traditional knowledge that has been transmitted from generation to generation,” he said.
Two million people had signed a petition to support Naples’ application, according to Sergio Miccu, head of the Association of Neapolitan Pizzaioli. “We’ll be giving out free pizza in the streets,” Miccu earlier told AFP.
Now, obviously, we’re a massive fan of pizza here at The Mouthful. Our editor is from Naples, he even did a guide of the best places to go, and it didn’t go un-noticed earlier today when the news came in because, as his op-ed will cover in a future edition, “pizza is a way of life. There is no other city that prides itself on it’s evangelical praise for a good one, nothing worse than having to be present for a bad one. You can have rivalries across Italy for all sorts of things, but you ask any Italian where Pizza has it’s mecca, it will be in the cobbled streets of Neapolis; there’s something just poetic about that – plus the pizza in Rome is w*nk!”
Thirty-four candidates were in the running to join UNESCO’s list of intangible heritage, created in 2003 mainly to raise awareness, although the agency also sometimes offers financial or technical support to countries struggling to protect their traditions.
The list already included more than 350 traditions, art forms and practices from Spain’s flamenco dancing to Indonesian batik fabrics, to more obscure entries such as a Turkish oil wrestling festival and the Mongolian coaxing ritual for camels.