THE RESCUE OF THE PIZZAIUOLO: SOMETHING BEYOND THE ART OF HANDLING WATER AND FLOUR
The art of the pizzauolo napoletano is an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity (ICH). It was established so by UNESCO on December 7, 2017. Every day in Italy, five million pizzas are baked. Every year, there are millions of others eaten around the world: it is estimated that countless portions are bitten every second. Known worldwide as a typical Italian food, it is officially recognized from this date for its cultural value. More properly speaking, it is referred as pizzauolo napoletano and a true art. It is a competition that has had a function of social rescue, of an identity element of a people, not only Neapolitan, but of the whole of Italy. It is a mark of Italianness in the world. It is not just about pizza or a simple combination of water and flour stuffed with fresh mozzarella and tomato that represents centuries-old daily Italian food for its simplicity. It is the product of a mastery. The Italian prototype is almost universally superimposed with the image of the Neapolitan, with his sayings, his gestures and, of course, his food. Neapolitans have long been identified for the art of making pizza, in which they recognize values of coexistence and cohesion, particularly when they are far from home. The art of pizzauolo napoletano includes in itself the Italian know-how, made up of gestures and above all traditional knowledge, handed down for generations: the technique, the familiarity with the raw material, plus the Italian passion for good food makes the difference, from two simple ingredients such as water and flour. From today on, being pizzaiuolo will never be a “bounce” job, a second option with which to look for a job in northern Italy or abroad to get ahead in life. It will mean being the practitioners of a culinary art finally recognized as one of the highest Italian cultural expressions. The pizzaiuoli will be ambassadors of a prestige of Italianness to exhibit and teach abroad with pride, with the awareness that this art, far from being of little value, represents an icon of social cohesion and cultural rescue. With the magic of an essentially miraculous city like Naples, a popular product, the very heritage of a people, has become an identity for a nation: the symbol of our culture, our way of life, our coexistence.