UNESCO: Art of the Neapolitan Pizza inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity


JEJU, DECEMBER 7 – The art of the Neapolitan ‘Pizzaiuolo’ is part of the UNESCO List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The decision was announced today in Jeju (Republic of Korea) by the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.

The art of the Neapolitan ‘Pizzaiolo’ is a culinary practice consisting of four different phases relating to the preparation of the dough and its baking in a wood-fired oven, the motivation recalls The practice originates in Naples, where around 3,000 Pizzaiuoli now live and perform, and plays a key role in fostering social gatherings and intergenerational exchange. Knowledge and skills related to the element are primarily transmitted in the ‘bottega’ of the Pizzaiuolo, where young apprentices can observe their master at work.

Pizzaiuoli are a living link for the communities concerned, UNESCO stated. There are three primary categories of bearers – the Master Pizzaiuolo, the Pizzaiuolo and the baker – as well as the families in Naples who reproduce the art in their own homes.

The element fosters social gatherings and intergenerational exchange, and assumes a character of the spectacular, with the Pizzaiuolo at the centre of their ‘bottega’ sharing their art. Every year, the Association of Neapolitan Pizzaiuoli organizes courses focused on the history, instruments and techniques of the art in order to continue to ensure its viability. Technical know-how is also guaranteed in Naples by specific academies, and apprentices can learn the art in their family homes. However, knowledge and skills are primarily transmitted in the ‘bottega’, where young apprentices observe masters at work, learning all the key phases and elements of the craft.

The announcement was welcomed with great joy in Naples. In Rome the Minister for Culture Dario Franceschini tweeted that “it’s a day of great honor for Naples and Italy ahead of the Italian Year of Food”. According to the ministero forego affairs, Angelino Alfano, “Italy’s commitment towards the protection of cultural heritage is not limited to protecting cultural, monumental, architectural and landscape assets, but extends to the elements that best represent our country’s traditions and that also express Italian genius and creativity”.Alfano gave “a special thanks to the 2 million Italians who signed the #pizzaUnesco petition, thereby helping us achieve this great victory. UNESCO has recognised the cultural and social aspects of this time-honoured knowledge – said Alfano – not only giving the world one of the healthiest and most complete foods, but also a food that brings people together regardless of all social, economic or cultural differences. Above all, it has also given the world an Italian word that, without needing to be translated, can immediately conjure up emotions ”.

Pecoraro Scanio, Inigo Lambertini e la pizza Unesco

The recognition marks another success in Italian cultural diplomacy, adding another notch to a year of especially significant UNESCO recognitions for Italy: its election as President of the Cultural Commission of the 39th General Conference for 2017-2019, and a few days ago, its election as a member of the Committee for the Protection of Cultural Property in the event of Armed Conflict; the implementation of the Strategy, proposed by Italy, to protect cultural heritage and promote cultural pluralism; the designation of the following as UNESCO Creative Cities: Alba for Gastronomy, Carrara for Crafts and Folk Art, Milan for Literature and Pesaro for Music; the inclusion in the List of World Heritage sites of the Venetian Works of Defence (Bergamo, Palmanova and Peschiera del Garda) and the Ancient Beech Forests of the Apennines. (@OnuItalia)