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Italy Wants UNESCO to Give Neapolitan Pizza the Respect it Deserves

It's seeking protected heritage status for its famous foodstuff

Washington Post/Getty Images

Anyone who's had real Neapolitan pizza can attest to its majestic qualities, and now Italy wants its beloved foodstuff to be officially recognized as a global treasure. The nation is seeking UNESCO heritage status for its beloved pizza style, reports The Guardian.

Italy decided to submit Neapolitan pizza for UNESCO consideration last year, and its campaign has been bolstered by a petition that's gathered an impressive 850,000 signatures across the globe. The UNESCO selection committee unanimously approved Neapolitan pizza as a candidate for heritage recognition, saying "the art of pizza-making was a central element of Neapolitan and Italian identity, and a symbol of the brand of Italy around the world." A final UNESCO decision will be made in 2017.

Italy wants its Neapolitan pizza to be distinguished from the many other varieties of pizza that exist around the world, such as Chicago deep-dish and New York-style, which certainly makes sense given America's penchant for perverse creations like hot dog crust pizza.

True Neapolitan pizza must be made only with a dough of 00 flour, yeast, salt, and water, with minimal toppings. To have their pies recognized as authentic Neapolitan-style, pizzerias across the world seek the approval of the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, an Italian nonprofit group that ensures said pizzas are made according to exacting standards.

UNESCO awards Intangible Cultural Heritage status to practices it feels are "both especially important to world heritage and cultural diversity, and deserving of lasting protection." Other food preparations that already hold UNESCO recognition include Korean kimchi, Armenian lavash bread, Croatia's lavishly decorated gingerbread, and Turkish coffee.

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