Soft and crunchy, made using whole wheat flour or plain flour, with or without anchovies, filled with stringy mozzarella and fresh tomato. Pizza can be served in a thousand ways, but only the one from Naples ensures that all of these ingredients are natural and fresh, tasty and with a distinctive aroma. This is why the Neapolitan pizza is a symbol of Italian excellence worldwide. There is no place around the world where the word pizza isn’t a synonymous of italianity and taste.

But preserving the tradition and making sure that a pizza is made using the right and genuine ingredients (which guarantee a unique result!) isn’t easy because of the thousand attempts to imitate it worldwide which never equal the flavor and the authenticity of the real Neapolitan pizza. That’s is why Molino Caputo together with Rossopomodoro and APN, the Association of the Neapolitan pizza makers, have decided to promote the Pizza Napoletana as Intangible Heritage of UNESCO. The initiative is not new – an attempt was already made to introduce the request in March 2011 – but due to a change in the procedures according to which each city may submit only one application per year it has been necessary to wait some time before to resubmit the request. This time things seem to go in the right direction and, maybe thanks to the EXPO, the request has been taken more seriously.

The success of the petition #pizzaunesco seems, in fact, to have crossed national borders, reaching the Big Apple. Neapolitan pizzeria Rossopomodoro hosted a major event in theWest Village where a petition was launched to protect the cultural value of the real pizza, a word which is now a true synonym of italianity. Promoting the event were Simone Falco, CEO of Rossopomodoro US, Alfonso Pecoraro Scanio, former Minister of Agriculture and Environment, Franco Mana, President and founder of Rossopomodoro, Antimo Caputo, CEO of Molino Caputo, Oscar Farinetti, the famous founder of EATALY, and finally Sergio Miccù, President of dell’Associazione Pizzaiuoli Napoletani (APN). Before going to New York, Sergio Miccù has promoted #pizzaunesco during the World Pizza Championship held in Japan – another market in big expansion – showing the Japanese pizza makers the importance of the Italian product origins.

During the evening organized by Rossopomodoro in Manhattan, Joe Bastianich and Gino Sorbillo, among many others, have welcomed the petition. The importance of promoting the Pizza Napoletana as an UNESCO Intangible Heritage, as pointed out by Pecoraro Scanio, lies in the authenticity of its ingredients and values. Promoting the Neapolitan Pizza means “protecting the pizza and the economy associated with it,” said the ex-minister. The pizza industry and more in general the Italian quality product market are surrounded by fake products of bad quality and dubious origin – a phenomenon known as Italian sounding – and this has a huge negative impact on the Italian economy in terms of jobs and production.

Thus, in view of the great EXPO showcase, Italy starts to make his #pizzaunesco request for 2015, a great initiative not to be missed.

To join the petition, visit the Change web site.

Antonio De Palma