Italians Want UNESCO To Give Pizza World Heritage Status

Who doesn’t love pizza? You can find it all over the world, but in Italy, the dish has special significance. It’s widely believed that a 19th-century Naples man named Raffaele Esposito invented the modern pizza ‘pie’. Now, more than two million Italians have petitioned for pizza to be given official UNESCO World Heritage status. I didn’t know a dish could be bestowed with that honour? It turns out that UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list recognizes traditional practices and activities around the world—including music, dance and food that shape national identity.

Since 2006, additions have included Turkish coffee, Croatian gingerbread, the Mediterranean diet, and the cuisines of Mexico and France. Not just any food can be added to the list. UNESCO honors only traditional cooking methods that were pioneered by a single nation.

Pizza makers in Naples think they have a case as Neapolitan pizza was born in their home city. They also hope that a special UNESCO designation will protect pizza from “food piracy and appropriation”, including the use of non-Italian ingredients and unorthodox toppings and sauces. (Pineapple and bacon, anyone?)

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