Italy Pursues UNESCO Heritage Status For Espresso, A National Icon
By Alexa Heah, 25 Jan 2022
Italy is submitting a bid to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to add espresso to its Intangible Heritage List, claiming that “coffee is much more than a simple drink: it is an authentic ritual.”
“It is an integral part of our national identity and an expression of our social relationships that distinguishes us around the world,” Gian Marco Centinaio, Italy’s Deputy Agriculture Minister, told Sky TG24.
It’s such a ubiquitous part of Italian culture that the Italian Espresso Institute reported more than 90% of the country’s citizens drink at least a cup of espresso a day.
This isn’t the first food item from Italy that’s been granted UNESCO status, as The Guardian noted. In 2017, the art of Neapolitan pizza-making was recognized as one of the country’s cultural symbols.
According to VinePair, the Italian Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry green-lighted the application for espresso last week, with the bid now seeking approval from the Italian National UNSECO Commission.
If it’s given the go-ahead, the bid will then be officially submitted to the UNESCO headquarters.
Interestingly, Italy had petitioned for espresso to be recognized by UNESCO last year. However, its bid last year was denied as the application was submitted by two separate agencies, as per the Wall Street Journal.
The Consortium of the Protection of Traditional Italian Espresso Coffee had applied for the drink as a representation of the entire nation, but the Region of Campania submitted a separate bid claiming it was indicative of only Neapolitan culture.
The two consortiums were told to reconcile their applications into a single bid.
Centinaio is confident that UNESCO will grant espresso a spot on its list, with the verdict expected sometime this spring.
“The cup of espresso represents for all Italians a social and cultural ritual that is also reflected in literature and that fascinates the whole country, from Naples to Venice to Trieste passing through Rome and Milan,” he remarked.
More related news