Neapolitan pizza-twirling wins UNESCO honour

  • The art of Neapolitan pizza-making won world heritage status, joining a horse-riding game from Iran and Dutch windmills on UNESCO’s culture list.
  • UNESCO accepted the art of Neapolitan “pizzaiuoli”, or pizza-makers, on the world body’s list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
  • “Congratulations #Italy!” it said in a tweet after a meeting in Jeju, South Korea where the decision was made.

Italy’s tradition:

  • Italy argued the practice of the “pizzaiuoli” — preparing and flipping the dough, topping it and baking it in a wood-fired oven — was part of the country’s cultural and gastronomic tradition.
  • Archetypal Neapolitan pizza has a relatively thin crust with the exception of the rim, which, when baked, bloats like a tiny bicycle tyre.
  • It is made in a wood-burning brick oven and has two classic versions: Marinara (tomato, garlic, oregano and oil) and, the most famous, Margherita (tomato, mozzarella, oil and basil), giving it the red, white and green colours of the Italian flag.
  • Tradition holds that the Margherita pizza was created in 1889 by a local chef in honour of Queen Margherita, who was visiting Naples, south of Rome on Italy’s Tyrrhenian coast.
  • As pizza has become a favourite dish around the world, foreign innovations in toppings have often left Italians perplexed and aghast.
  • Matteo Martino, a customer at Fiore’s pizzeria, said before the expected announcement, “I think, and I hope, that this could be the chance to make foreigners understand how pizza is made, without Nutella or pineapple.”

Other winners:

  • UNESCO also accepted Chogan, an Iranian horse-riding game accompanied by music and storytelling, and the craft of millers operating windmills and watermills in the Netherlands.
  • Traditional boat making on the Indonesian island of South Sulawesi, and Nsima, a maize-based culinary tradition from the African country of Malawi, also joined the list.


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