Sunday, October 18, 2015


Far from being a mere commodity, a product separated from the social and cultural dynamics of its production, pizza is food at the centre of a social ritual. It is at the centre of a koinè at the centre of which are the oven and the pizzaiuolo’s worktable. It is no coincidence that in traditional Neapolitan pizzerias ovens are not hidden; they are in the centre of the room, like an ancient fireplace.
The pizza maestro does not have his back to the customers; he faces them and interacts with them at all times; there is a constant collective feedback. This initiates forms of community credit, such as the “today and eight” pizza, bought and consumed immediately, paid eight days later, or the “suspended” pizza, following the ancient Neapolitan tradition of the suspended coffee, which involves consuming one espresso and paying for two, leaving one in for less fortuned strangers.
This form of generosity towards strangers, based on the assumption that “a pizza is denied to no one”, elects pizza, already the global emblem of street food, as the food of solidarity.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


The appearance of Mount Vesuvius and its surrounding area before that catastrophic eruption has been – and still is – a debated topic for geologists and archaeologists alike. But it’s not a purely speculative topic – we not only have some geological clues about the area, but also written descriptions and some contemporary drawings as well. Roman authors who cite Vesuvius in their works include Strabo, Vitruvius and Diodorus Siculus.
In his Geographia, Strabo describes the “burned” rocks of the mountain and compares Vesuvius to the more active Mt. Etna. Additionally, Diodorus and Vitruvius seem to have grasped the volcanic origin of the mountain: "It is said, that once a fire burned below Vesuvius and spilled out a boiling flood, inundating the nearby countryside: so that the rock now called Pompeian Pumice, once was another sort of rock, reduced by fire to its actual quality."