UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage: Art of Neapolitan 'Pizzaiuolo'
Every year, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) grants select cultural practices, traditions, performing arts, events, skills, and expressions Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) status. As UNESCO points out, "An understanding of the intangible cultural heritage of different communities helps with intercultural dialogue, and encourages mutual respect for other ways of life. The importance of intangible cultural heritage is not the cultural manifestation itself but rather the wealth of knowledge and skills that is transmitted through it from one generation to the next. The social and economic value of this transmission of knowledge is relevant for minority groups and for mainstream social groups within a State, and is as important for developing States as for developed ones."
In 2017, the Art of Neapolitan 'Pizzaiuolo' was granted status as an International Cultural Heritage.
According to UNESCO, the status points "to the importance of food traditions as strong identity markers that are easily accessible to a wide audience from different cultural backgrounds who share primordial nutritional needs. The skills involved in working natural, basic ingredients such as flour and water are a testimony to the creativity of the practitioners. The element is also an example of how intangible cultural heritage can stimulate the creativity of children. Its inscription would contribute to the visibility and diversity of intangible cultural heritage by highlighting the specific nature of an element that combines craftsmanship and foodways, and would further foster dialogue between the community concerned both in Italy and in other communities that practise similar arts linked to food worldwide."
So what exactly is the Art of Neapolitan 'Pizzaiuolo'?
Pizza is a food loved all around the world, but in Naples, the birthplace of pizza (and our home!), pizza is more than a food, it's is a way of life.
'Pizzaiuolo' is the art form and historically rich craft of making pizza that has been passed down over generations and 'Pizzaiuoli' are the artists, masters, and bakers, who perform this practice in professional and personal settings. They are "a living link for the communities concerned" and in Naples there about 3,000 Pizzaiuoli who live and perform the Art of Neapolitan 'Pizzaiuolo.'
The culinary practice behind the Art of Neapolitan 'Pizzaiuolo' is comprised of "four different phases relating to the preparation of the dough and its baking in a wood-fired oven, involving a rotatory movement by the baker."
Since before UNESCO granted this art form and practice Intangible Heritage Status, companies like ours alongside organizations that originated in Italy, have been protecting, educating, and maintaining it's history. The Associazione Pizzaioli Napoletani (APN) and Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (VPN) are two examples - both certify pizzaiuoli and pizzerias that adhere to specific guidelines that preserve the authenticity, traditions, and history of Neapolitan pizza.
Our family and company is a prime example of how the Art of Neapolitan 'Pizzaiuolo' has fostered connections around the world. The Art of Neapolitan 'Pizzaiuolo' is in our blood. It's part of who we are. After all, ours is the mill of Naples and our flour has been an integral part of the artistic process for 100 years. Our flour was first brought to the USA in the early 1990s when a restaurant wanted to use the same flour as the Pizzaiuoli in Italy. That flour was Caputo "00" Pizzeria and that restaurant was Naples 45 in New York City. These relationships we fostered with Pizzaiuoli in the US even led us to develop our Americana flour so that we could meet the needs of American artisan bakers. We truly can say, the Art of Neapolitan 'Pizzaiuolo' has brought communities far and wide together while fostering conversations around it's traditions and history. We have seen a beautiful expansion and celebration of Neapolitan pizza across the world over the last 20 years and we know it will only continue to grow and bring people together!