Truffle hunting in Italy added to UNESCO list

Lucia Borgonzoni (left) joined by members of the truffle community

ROME – The Italian truffle community celebrated its UNESCO recognition, joined by political figures from the culture sector at the Casa del Cinema in Villa Borghese where the Undersecretary for Cultural Heritage and Activities, Lucia Borgonzoni presented them with the certificate on Wednesday.  

 ‘Truffle hunting in Italy, traditional knowledge and practices’ was inscribed onto the UNESCO list of the world’s intangible cultural heritage in Dec 2021. The candidacy process, right up to its inscription involved the institutional technical-scientific coordination of Service II - UNESCO Office of the General Secretariat of the MiC. 

 To receive the certificate, a large representation from the truffle community gathered together, including those part of the ‘National Truffle Association’ (ANCT), those associated with the ‘National Federation of Italian Truffle Associations’ (FNATI), as well as other associations not registered with FNATI, and individual truffle hunters. 

 Among those present at the momentous occasion were ‘Messengers of Truffle Culture’, Syusy Blady and Totò’s great-grandson, Simone Buffardi de Curtis, as well as politicians Susanna Cenni and Filippo Gallinella. 

 "For every community," commented the Undersecretary of State for Culture, Lucia Borgonzoni, "the path towards UNESCO recognition as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity means venturing even deeper into the knowledge of the histories, traditions and values guarded by the many people who enliven them and the territories in which these communities live. It allows us to go back to our roots. It also means networking around an immense heritage and working to ensure that it is preserved and passed on to new generations. Today's important milestone is only the beginning: the road to follow is the one that leads to the enhancement of this heritage by sharing and protecting it.”

 "At long last," said Michele Boscagli, president of ANCT, "we are celebrating with a big party within the community for this long hoped-for recognition that we have worked for with perseverance and dedication for many years. The joy of this moment lies in sharing it with all those who identify with the practice.”

 "The inscription of the 'Searching and Quarrying for Truffles in Italy' in the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity," commented Fabio Cerretano, president of FNATI, "must represent the systemic application of the knowledge of all of us truffle hunters, which seeks above all to protect biodiversity and the sustainability of increasingly fragile truffle environments. There is a great intangible heritage to be protected and passed on to new generations, and this important recognition must spur us all on in this direction.”

 The great value of this recognition, as explained during the event, also lies in the work of research and archiving of testimonies and documents that has been done and that has enabled a formal transmission of the practice, which until now has remained informal and mainly entrusted to family and oral tradition.


Truffle hunting