Italy, Italy

«Pizza acknowledgments»

Next Project︎︎︎

Harvard Graduate School of Design 

Chris Reed,
Michael Herzfeld
«Pizza acknowledgments», a continuation of «Greetings from the Hinterland!», is not a research about Tramonti, yet about who left Tramonti. After the Touristic Boom in the Amalfi Coast, responsible of a fracture between the coast and its productive hinterland, about 50% of the inhabitants relocate elsewhere selling pizza, their intangible heritage. The metonymic expression Pizza Diaspora underlines the shared material product of this migration, driven by the successful plan of the pioneer Gigino ‘e Mamea, a Tramonti’s exile, who started the first pizza-shop business in Novara (North of Italy), to soothe his homesickness, or perhaps, food-centred nostalgia, as described by the anthropologist Jon D. Holtzaman.

Not too different from the most famous “episode of the Madeleine” in «À la recherche du temps perdu» by Marcel Proust. Through the synesthetic childhood- food-reminiscence the exiles reconnect to the “times when their lives where not fragmented” (Sutton, 2001). Eventually, restaurants, the total social phenomena’, respond to a further post-modern duty: geo-cultural detachment. Food, in this sense, transcends its nutritional function and becomes a vehicle for cultural transmission. By invoking nostalgic memories of childhood food experiences, individuals are able to establish a connection with their past, lands and the traditions of their ancestors.

In the Italian context, recalling the Tramonti’s myth of being the inventor of Pizza becomes a way of better situating the role of food, and specifically of pizza, in the national cultural identity. The acknowledgment of pizza’s hyperbolic relevancy in the southern history assumes a biased and intimate atmosphere while discussing the dimension of pizza-shops and restaurants, because after all I share the same story, or as clients say, because «I am the daughter of the pizza shop».