Italy finally offers Neopolitan pizza for Unesco menu

Italy has finally prepared a dossier, ready to be sent to Unesco, as part of its bid to get Neopolitan pizza listed on the Intangible Cultural Heritage list.

Italy finally offers Neopolitan pizza for Unesco menu
Italian pizza maker masterchef Gennaro Cervone gives a lesson of homemade pizza during the pizza festival in Naples in 2014. Photo: Mario Laporta/AFP

The plan to get “the art of the Neopolitian pizza maker” protected has been mooted for some time, but the Italian National Commission for Unesco has now agreed on a proposal by the Ministry of Agriculture to endeavour to get the culinary skill listed because “it represents Italy in the world”.

“We continue to value ‘made in Italy’, especially after the success of Milan Expo last year,” Agriculture Minister Maurizio Martina told Ansa.

The dossier will now be sent to Unesco, where it will begin a long and complex negotiation process involving 200 countries before a decision is made in 2017.

Pierluigi Petrillo, the legal editor for the dossier, said the process would be especially challenging because, until now, “Unesco has never listed a cultural tradition linked to food production”.

The list “is composed of intangible heritage elements that concerned communities and states parties consider require urgent measures to keep them alive”, according to the Unesco website.

Naples has long been determined to maintain its reputation as the spiritual home of one of the world's favourite foods.

Photo: Joanne Wann

Neapolitan pizza is characterised by its raised crust rendered golden by oven cooking, by the crispy yet tender consistency of its pastry, and by its acid tomato taste, along with aromas of oregano, garlic, basil and mozzarella.

The role of the pizza maker, or pizzaiolo, and the wood-fire oven are also determining characteristics of the Neapolitan pizza.

The base should be no more than 3 millimetres (about an eighth of an inch) thick and cooked for between 60 and 90 seconds in a stone oven with an oak-wood fire.

The Neapolitan pizza was invented in the southern Italian city between 1715 and 1725, with the world-famous Margherita variant first cooked up in 1889.

Tradition has it that Queen Margherita of Savoy asked one of Naples' famed pizzaiole to come up with a dish for the people.

The result, which provides the basis for most pizzas enjoyed around the world, represented the colours of recently unified Italy: green basil, white mozzarella and red tomatoes. 

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Venice may be put on Unesco endangered list if cruise ships not banned

The UN art heritage agency has said it may put Venice on its ‘endangered’ list if the lagoon city does not permanently ban cruise ships from docking there.

Venice may be put on Unesco endangered list if cruise ships not banned
Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP

The Italian lagoon city, along with Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, the city of Budapest, and Liverpool’s waterfront may be put on the list of “World Heritage in Danger,” meaning they risk being removed from Unesco’s prestigious list of world heritage sites completely.

Unesco said on Monday the issue will be discussed at a meeting of its World Heritage Committee, which oversees the coveted accolade, in Fuzhou, China, on July 16-31.

It “would be a very serious thing for our country” if Venice was removed, said Italy’s Culture Minister Dario Franceschini on Monday.

READ ALSO: ‘More local, more authentic’: How can Italy move toward responsible tourism in future?

The MSC Orchestra cruise ship arrives in Venice on June 3rd, 2021. Photo: ANDREA PATTARO/AFP

Participants at the China meeting will make the final decision on the deletion and warning proposals, and the agency could demand urgent action on cruise ships from the Italian government by next February.

There has long been concern about the impact of cruise ships on the city’s delicate structures and on the lagoon’s fragile ecosystem.

READ ALSO: Hundreds demonstrate against cruise ships’ return to Venice

The Italian government appeared to have passed a ban on cruise ships docking in Venice earlier this year – but the giant vessels continue to arrive in the city.

The government’s decree in fact did not constitute an immediate ban.

Instead, it said a plan for docking cruise ships outside Venice’s lagoon must be drawn up and implemented.

In the meantime, the ships will continue sailing through the lagoon and docking at the city’s industrial port, which has been the landing site for them since last December.