“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” said the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Angelino Alfano. His remarks followed the recognition by UNESCO of the art of the Neapolitan “Pizzaiuolo” (pizza-maker), a skill with a long history, passed down from generation to generation, and which is, as of now, on the list of humanity’s intangible cultural heritage.
“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 ”.
This prestigious recognition given during the annual session of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage underway on the island of Jeju in South Korea ideally dovetails with the events held throughout the world to celebrate the “Week of Italian Cuisine”. This initiative promotes the culinary and food and wine traditions of our country at international level, as distinctive features of Italian identity and culture, and one of the main elements of the Brand Italy.
“Quality, identity, territory, biodiversity, culture and sustainability are the distinctive traits of the art of the Neapolitan pizzaiuolos – said Alfano – and were key terms at the Milan Expo. They have become symbols of Italian excellence in the world, and of the professional expertise in an area that lifts the status of Brand Italy abroad”.
It 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.