Foodies in Italy's most famous pizza hub are rejoicing today after the culinary art of the "pizzaiuolo" (the pizza maker) made it on to UNESCO's "intangible cultural heritage of humanity" list on Thursday.
Generations of Neapolitan chefs have spent years honing the skills needed for the practice, which involves twirling and spinning the pizza dough in the air before baking it in a wood-fired oven. They follow a specific set of rules that covers all aspects of making a real Neapolitan pizza, including the type of flour, water, and toppings to use.
News of the decision came after around 2 million people signed a petition to support Naples' application and captured the headlines of major Italian newspapers, confirming the city's reputation for producing the best pizzas in the world.
For the 3,000 pizzaiuoli who work in the southern Italian city, their day jobs involve far more than baking. The four complex stages of preparing the dough while rotating have made it an art form in itself.
It now officially ranks alongside the likes of Spanish flamenco dancing and Chinese calligraphy as a cultural tradition. Other art forms added on Thursday include Chogān, a horse riding game in Iran, and the Dutch craft of operating windmills.
Caterina Coppola, a political activist, tweeted: "Making a pizza is difficult, nearly impossible to do perfectly. It requires years of commitment, study, and practice. You need the right ingredients. You need talent. In short: It’s an art. And as of today UNESCO heritage. As a Neapolitan I add: finally!"
Some pizzerias announced they would be giving out free pizza on the streets, and the city itself also welcomed the achievement:
In line with the recognition of an art form, others posted poetry to celebrate the achievement: "You wanted a pizza, a pizza, a pizza".
Celebrations may have taken place in Naples, but the decision itself was made more than 5,000 miles away at a meeting of the UN cultural body's World Heritage Committee, which met on the South Korean island of Jeju.
Members of the Association of Neapolitan Pizzaiuoli stayed up all night to live stream the announcement.
Vincenzo De Luca, president of the Campania region, tweeted: "Campania is the place where food excellence becomes culture, this is what the recognition of the Art of Pizzaiuolo as UNESCO Intangible Heritage shows".
Others have set their sights further. Next up, one Neapolitan tweeted, is the fight for recognition of the city's mandolin.
Hazel is a news reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Hazel Shearing at email@example.com.
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