Neapolitan 'Pizza Twirling' Makes UNESCO List

Two million people signed a petition supporting the official recognition of 'pizzaiuolo' pizza twirling.

Dec. 8, 2017
By Julie Al-Zoubi

Recent News

Pizza lovers in Naples enjoyed free pizza dished out by pizze­rias Thurs­day to cel­e­brate the inclu­sion of piz­za­iuolo, their tra­di­tional pizza mak­ing tech­nique onto the United Nation’s list of intan­gi­ble her­itage, grant­ing Neapoli­tan pizza world her­itage sta­tus.

The art of piz­za­iuolo rep­re­sents iden­tity of peo­ple, our tra­di­tion and ter­ri­tory.- Enzo Coc­cia

Two mil­lion peo­ple signed a peti­tion in sup­port of pizzaiuolo’s demand to be rec­og­nized. They argued that the prac­tice of twirling the dough before the pizza is baked in a wood-fired brick oven; along with the tra­di­tional songs, sto­ries and ges­tures that con­nect the pizza mak­ers and din­ers in Neapoli­tan neigh­bor­hoods was part of a unique cul­tural and gas­tro­nomic tra­di­tion.

Mas­ter pizza maker Enzo Coc­cia who runs a world-renowned pizza acad­emy as well as two pizza restau­rants in Naples told Olive Oil Times, It is an impor­tant thing, because the art of piz­za­iuolo rep­re­sents iden­tity of peo­ple, our tra­di­tion and ter­ri­tory. It’s a prize for all peo­ple that dur­ing these years have done some­thing for this job and for the world of Pizza Neapoli­tan.

I hope that this prize could be a way or a source to develop an impor­tant econ­omy not only for the pizze­rias, but for all peo­ple thanks to tourism, that pro­tects the envi­ron­ment. This prize is not only for the Neapoli­tan peo­ple, but it is for all pizza mak­ers all over the world that make Neapoli­tan Pizza.”

Mau­r­izio Mar­tina, Italy’s min­is­ter for agri­cul­ture food and forestry tweeted, Vic­tory, another step towards the pro­tec­tion of Italy’s food and wine her­itage.”


In 2006 Eliz­a­beth Gilbert devoured the Neapoli­tan del­i­cacy in her best­selling mem­oir, Eat, Pray, Love and declared, I love my pizza so much, in fact, that I have come to believe in my delir­ium that my pizza might actu­ally love me, in return. I am hav­ing a rela­tion­ship with this pizza, almost an affair.”

In the 2010 film ver­sion of Eat, Pray, Love, Julia Roberts turned the Hol­ly­wood spot­light on the Naples pizza joint L’Antica Pizze­ria Da Michele” urg­ing, Please go to this pizze­ria. Order the margherita pizza with dou­ble moz­zarella. If you do not eat this pizza when you are in Naples, please lie to me and tell me that you did.”

In 2010 that Neapoli­tan pizza was also granted EU Tra­di­tional Spe­cial­ity Guar­an­teed” sta­tus.

There are just two clas­sic ver­sions of the tra­di­tional Neapoli­tan pizza; the Margherita which is topped with tomato, moz­zarella, oil and basil, and the Mari­nara, topped with tomato, gar­lic, oregano and olive oil.

Thirty-three other tra­di­tions also fought for a UNESCO list­ing at the twelfth ses­sion held on Jeju Island, South Korea in Decem­ber. The intan­gi­ble her­itage list was set up in 2003 and includes over 350 tra­di­tions and food­stuffs. In 2013 the Mediter­ranean Diet was added to the UNESCO list which also includes Turk­ish olive oil wrestling.

The main aim of the UNESCO list is to raise aware­ness of tra­di­tions from around the world although in some cases finan­cial and other sup­port is pro­vided for endan­gered tra­di­tions.

Related News