Art of Neapolitan ‘Pizzaiuolo’

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Inscribed in 2017 (12.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

© Associazione Pizzaiuoli Napoletani, 2011

The art of the Neapolitan ‘Pizzaiuolo’ is a culinary practice comprising four different phases relating to the preparation of the dough and its baking in a wood-fired oven, involving a rotatory movement by the baker. The element originates in Naples, the capital of the Campania Region, where about 3,000 Pizzaiuoli now live and perform. Pizzaiuoli are a living link for the communities concerned. There are three primary categories of bearers – the Master Pizzaiuolo, the Pizzaiuolo and the baker – as well as the families in Naples who reproduce the art in their own homes. The element fosters social gatherings and intergenerational exchange, and assumes a character of the spectacular, with the Pizzaiuolo at the centre of their ‘bottega’ sharing their art. Every year, the Association of Neapolitan Pizzaiuoli organizes courses focused on the history, instruments and techniques of the art in order to continue to ensure its viability. Technical know-how is also guaranteed in Naples by specific academies, and apprentices can learn the art in their family homes. However, knowledge and skills are primarily transmitted in the ‘bottega’, where young apprentices observe masters at work, learning all the key phases and elements of the craft.

The first phase: the shaping of dough balls (the so called 'Staglio')
The second phase: spreading the dough (called 'ammaccatura'). Pizzaiuolo forms the famous raised rim called 'cornicione' with a skillful motion for its extension (called 'schiaffo')
The second phase: Pizzaiuolo makes a skillful motion (called 'schiaffo') for the extension of the dough
The second phase: the real performing art that assumes a character of ability due to the master of Naples Pizzaiuoli
The third phase: topping the dough with ingredients from the center, with a spiraling and clockwise motion
The fourth stage: baking in a wood-oven, with a rotating movement ('half turn')
Children are always involved in specific activities aimed at transmitting this art to future generations
The 'white art' is performed also by children and young people that, with the help of the master, being to expertise and train themselves in this practice
The whole community participates in the festive event during which Naples Pizzaiuoli perform their traditional art
The transmission of the white art finds often a family solution