It’s now a pizza history!
The noble tradition of Neopolitan pizza twirling was granted world heritage status by the United Nations on Thursday.
The art of “pizzaiuoli”— prepping and extravagantly flipping the dough, then topping it and throwing it in a wood-fired oven — has been handed down for generations in Naples, and was added to UNESCO’s coveted “intangible heritage” list.
About 2 million pizza enthusiasts had signed a petition to support Naples’ application — while the head of the Association of Neapolitan Pizzaiuoli had promised to give our gratis grub if the culinary tradition made the grade.
“We’ll be giving out free pizza in the streets,” ‘za czar Sergio Miccu told AFP.
Pizzeria owners across the country were spinning out after the UN cultural agency announced its momentous decision.
“I am honored, like all Italian and Neapolitans are. Pizza has centuries of history,” pizzeria owner Romano Fiore said.
“Pizza is a food that must be internationally recognized, just like the other monuments we have in Italy, it should be considered as a historical monument of Italian cuisine,” Roberto Guglielman a patron at an Italian pizzeria said before digging into his pie.
True Neapolitan pizza has a thin crust — with the exception of the rim, which bloats up when baked and comes in two forms, Marinara and Margherita.
According to local lore, Margherita pizza was created in 1889 by a local chef in honor of Queen Margherita, who was visiting Naples at the time.
And now that “pizzaiuoli” is officially recognized as an art form, pizza purists hope it will spell the end of foreigners putting questionable toppings on the dish.
“I think, and I hope, that this could be the chance to make foreigners understand how pizza is made, without Nutella or pineapple,” said Matteo Martino, a customer at a Roman pizzeria.
UNESCO created its intangible heritage list in 2003 to raise awareness about cultural traditions and to offer support to countries struggling to protect those practices — and has since added Turkish coffee culture, Croatian gingerbread craft and the ancient Georgian method of wine-making.
Neapolitan pizza-making was one of 34 candidates for a spot on the list this year.
Countries celebrating the accolade alongside Italy include Saudi Arabia for “Al-Qatt Al-Asin,” a style of wall painting traditionally created by women, and the Netherlands, which was recognized for the “art” of operating windmills and watermills, among others.
The US last month announced that it will pull out of UNESCO at the end of 2018, accusing the cultural agency of anti-Israel bias.