NAPLES — Above the throng shoving its way along Via dei Tribunali, this pizza-crazed city’s historic pizza thoroughfare, Antonio Borrelli leaned over the fake lemons hanging from the “Balcony of Song” above Antica Pizzeria Gino Sorbillo and dared sing one thing else.
“The pizza!” the crowd screamed in protest.
“The pizza. O.K., O.K., O.K. Give me a second,” Mr. Borrelli, a regional crooning attraction, mentioned on Friday as he switched the track on his sound machine, gripped the microphone and, with an intro of “Everybody, right here we go again,” sang: “But you wanted the pizza. The pizza. The pizza. With the tomato sauce on best. With the tomato sauce on best.”
The delighted crowd sang along with Mr. Borelli in Neapolitan dialect, and then lost its collective marbles when he pointed out that the celebrity pizza maker Gino Sorbillo had stepped out of the restaurant and onto the street.
Naples was in the throes of a citywide pizza celebration.
News had come from far away, on the South Korean island of Jeju, that Unesco’s Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage place the roughly 3,000 pizza makers, or pizzaiuoli, of Naples on its Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. (“The art of Neapolitan pizzaiuoli is Intangible Heritage of Humanity!” tweeted the Italian culture minister, Dario Franceschini.)
There have been 32 other intangible winners of the tangible list, such as Chogan, an Iranian horse-riding game accompanied by music and storytelling, and Uilleann piping from Ireland, but the pizzaiuoli of Naples proved as skilled in the art of self-promotion as in baking pies.
“Finally, the world recognizes the capability of the pizza maker,” Mr. Sorbillo, 43, mentioned. “We make a product that has conquered the globe.”
Mr. Sorbillo has his personal expanding empire, opening a branch of his renowned pizzeria last month on Mulberry Street in New York, exactly where enthusiasts integrated, among others, Mayor Bill de Blasio. (“He employed his hands,” Mr. Sorbillo said. “I cut it for him.”)
Dressed in a couture jean apron over chef whites, the pizzaiuoli prompted a feeding frenzy outdoors his restaurant as he handed out cost-free folded pizzas from an massive copper pot and posed for hundreds of selfies. (“Not even Clark Gable,” stated one of Mr. Sorbillo’s waiters, shaking his head.) Via it all, the media-savvy pizza maker flaunted a special pie with “Pizza Unesco” written in white ricotta di bufala on a red marinara face.
Immaculately groomed and bespectacled, Mr. Sorbillo walked into the kitchen, previous a cardboard cutout of himself holding his new book, “Pizzaman.” He took a ball of dough from atop a stack of pink, green, blue and red boxes, tossed some flour on the marble countertop and smacked the dough down hard.
“This is referred to as the slap strategy,” he mentioned.
Next he spread the sauce, sprinkled the cheese, drizzled the oil and pulled the edges of what would turn out to be the raised cornicione crust taut more than a wooden peel, just before sliding it into the wood-burning oven.
“It’s an art,” Mr. Sorbillo said. “It began in Naples and survived the centuries, in spite of all the difficulties, the earthquakes, Vesuvius, the war, the wars.”
Mr. Sorbillo traces the road to recognition back 300 years ago, but appreciation from Unesco began far more lately, when, in 2009, Pier Luigi Petrillo, an Italian professor and specialist in “lobbying theories and tactics,” created 3 applications to Unesco on behalf of Italy’s Agriculture Ministry.
The first to win was the Mediterranean diet regime, in 2010, (“It has provided rise to a considerable physique of information, songs, maxims, tales and legends”), followed in 2014 by the practice of cultivating Zibibbo wine on the Sicilian island of Pantelleria. (“The method consists of numerous phases.”) That same year, Mr. Petrillo began collecting what ended up being two million signatures for the pizzaiuolo trigger.
He traveled about the globe to promote the pizza makers’ candidacy, personally lobbying representatives from crucial voting nations, laying it on thick with children’s drawings of their fathers baking pizza and explaining, per the Unesco application, that the pizzaiuolo “makes the dough spinning and twirling it amongst each hands and then raises it to the air with a rapid movement, typically singing traditional songs.”
He competed against “female standard interior wall decoration in Asir, Saudi Arabia,” “Cultural practices associated to the 1st of March” in Bulgaria, and “Taskiwin, martial dance of the western High Atlas,” in Morocco. But the pizza lobbying paid off.
At about five a.m. last Thursday, Mr. Sorbillo woke up Ciro Oliva, the master pizzaiuolo who runs Concettina ai Tre Santi, shouting, “Ciro, we won!”
Mr. Oliva, 24, mentioned he began yelling with joy as well. “That day will be remembered in pizza history.”
Mr. Oliva’s great-grandmother started creating pizzas in the identical building of the challenging Sanità section of the city exactly where he performs his magic right now, with small far more than an oven and a window to hand the bread out on the street.
Until even a handful of years ago, Sanità, where guys nonetheless hunch over bootleg-DVD stands watching the Naples mob show “Gomorrah,” was the sort of spot individuals stayed away from. Now, Mr. Oliva stated, individuals come from all over the city and country, waiting outdoors for an hour to taste the art of the pizzaiuolo.
“Three hours,” corrected Paolo Fischetti, 40, who sat at a table savoring one of Mr. Oliva’s completely charred creations.
Mr. Oliva, gregarious and ebullient, has sought to take pizza to the subsequent level. As adept a marketer as Mr. Sorbillo, he seized on the Unesco publicity to show off a tasting menu of haute-cuisine dishes which includes pork jowl pizza puffs, artichoke sandwiches, fried amberjack calzones and marinara slices that showcased the purity of his merchandise and the sophistication of his talent.
It is a profession, Mr. Ciro stated, that has allowed him to give back to the neighborhood, offering cost-free pizzas and paying for English lessons for nearby children. He has a loyal following of foodies, and across a courtyard strewn with laundry, a higher-tech storage room for his adored dough to rest and mature.
But when he began, as a pizza delivery boy for his parents, driving a scooter with 1 hand and balancing the pizzas on his forearm with the other, he stated no 1 respected the pizzaiuolo’s craft.
“When I was little, they created entertaining of me,” he stated, referring to classmates who greeted him at school with the chorus of a well-liked Italian song that went, “Go make a pizza.”
He worried that his daughter, in spite of now being able to attend an exclusive private school with the children of judges and magistrates, had faced related slights. But with Unesco recognizing her father as a major purveyor of an intangible heritage of humanity, he hopes they will show her far more respect.
“Now,” he stated, “we’ll see.”
Published at Wed, 13 Dec 2017 17:20:47 +0000