A great excellence of Made in Italy inscribed in the Unesco list of intangible cultural heritage: we are talking about the Italy of the truffle, guardian of a noble and historical tradition
When we talk about cultural heritage, beyond tangible objects such as monuments, culturally important sites and from a naturalistic point of view, collections of artifacts, we also mean the whole immaterial sphere but no less vital and precious than the living traditions transmitted. from our ancestors, such as particular oral expressions, including language, performing arts, social practices, rituals and festivals, traditional crafts, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe. UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, i.e. United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture) has among its priority objectives to support and promote the transmission of intangible cultural heritage between generations worldwide: in 2003 it therefore adopted the Convention for the Protection of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, ratified by Italy in 2007.
In recent days, the UNESCO Committee based in Paris added the "Truffle hunting and quarrying in Italy"In the representative list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. This is the qeleventh Italian element which is part of the long list of intangible cultural heritage of humanity recognized by UNESCO. It is also important to underline that this is the first national candidacy of intangible heritage that represents the theme of cultural biodiversity.
The practice of Truffle Search and Quarrying brings together culture, know-how and practices handed down orally for centuries, focused on the deep knowledge of the natural environment and the ecosystem, also emphasizing the relationship between man and animal, since it results from a real team work which combines the skills of the truffle hunter and the olfactory ones of the dog.
An important worldwide recognition of an ancient tradition that unites North and South of the Peninsula and which is declined according to the local cultural identity, handed down through stories, anecdotes, practices and proverbs – a knowledge that brings together rural life, protection of the territory and high kitchen.
Unesco recognition therefore celebrates the end of a process that began eight years ago with the application of the truffle hunters' associations to the ministries of culture and agriculture, until March 2020, when the foreign ministry formally presented the candidacy. The practice of quarrying is a real secular art that includes research in the woods with dogs and the collection of precious underground mushrooms.
The work of the "trifolaio" is a centuries-old art that concerns various truffle territories in Italy: among the best known are the truffles originating from the Piedmontese Langhe, from San Miniato in Tuscany, Norcia in Umbria or Acqualagna in the Marche, but in reality the territories of truffles are found in 14 Italian regions. The candidacy, in fact, represents a network that unites about 76,000 truffle hunters and theirs truffle territories.
University of Truffle Dogs®
To date, Unesco has so far recognized 630 elements in 140 countries around the world as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The fifteen Italian elements that are part of it (some in conjunction with other countries that share the practice) are these:
Truffle hunting and quarrying in Italy: traditional knowledge and practices (2021)
Falconry (2021) transnational with United Arab Emirates, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Republic of Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Morocco, Netherlands, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Qatar , Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Spain and the Syrian Arab Republic
The art of glass beads (2020), transnational with France
The musical art of hunting horn players (2020), transnational with Belgium, France, Luxembourg
Celestinian Forgiveness (2019)
Alpinism (2019), transnational with France and Switzerland
Transhumance (2019), transnational with Austria and Greece
The art of dry stone walls (inserted in 2018), transnational with Croatia, Cyprus, France, Greece, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland
The Art of the Neapolitan "Pizzaiuolo" (2017)
The sapling vine of Pantelleria (2014)
The Feasts of the Big Machines on the Shoulder for the processions (2013)
The Mediterranean Diet (2013), transnational with Spain, Greece, Cyprus, Croatia, Morocco, Portugal
The art of the traditional luthier (violin) in Cremona (2012)
The Sicilian Puppet Opera (2008)
The Canto a tenore, Sardinian (2008)
photo by Felice Scoccimarro / Alkèmia
We also suggest some recipes with truffles, easy to make but scenic and delicious, particularly suitable for festive tables, such as Potatoes with quail eggs and white truffle, Strozzapreti with porcini mushrooms, pumpkin and truffles, Truffle tajarin.
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