Italy seeks UNESCO heritage status for Italian espresso coffee

"In Italy, coffee is much more than a simple drink"

Italy is bidding to have Italian espresso coffee inserted on the UNESCO list of "intangible cultural heritage", the nation's deputy agriculture minister Gian Marco Centinaio announced on Thursday.

"In Italy coffee is much more than a simple drink" - Centinaio said - "It is a genuine ritual, an integral part of our national identity and an expression of our sociality that distinguishes us in the world."

The cup of espresso represents "a social and cultural ritual for all Italians", said Centinaio, "that is also reflected in literature and is enjoyed by the whole country, from Naples to Venice to Trieste, Rome to Milan."

He said the candidacy is "all the more important" in the context of covid-19 restrictions that have hampered social interaction, much of which took place at the bar "in front of a good Italian coffee."

Centinaio added that he was confident Italy's bid would be approved by the national UNESCO commission and sent to Paris by 31 March, reports Italian state broadcaster RAI News.