Rome, January 3 - The cultural, social and aesthetic value of food are at the center of a campaign launched by Italy's cultural and agricultural ministries that have declared 2018 the year of Italian food in the world. The year has opened with a campaign on social media under #museitaliani launched on the website of the cultural ministry - wwww.beniculturali.it/annodelciboitaliano - focusing on typical gourmet dishes. Meanwhile events promoting Italian culture, wine and food are opening this month to sponsor the Mediterranean diet, which ranks on UNESCO's list of intangible cultural heritage, the Pantelleria vine, the landscapes of Langhe Roero and Monferrato, Parma's gastronomic tradition and Neapolitan pizza, among others. Other initiatives will include events to support the lands of Prosecco bubbly wine and pasta Amatriciana as UNESCO candidates and to launch rural areas and local products as tourist attractions, with a specific focus on fighting food waste The close link between food, art and landscape will also be at the center of the strategy to promote tourism through national tourism agency ENIT and the network of Italian embassies worldwide to highlight how much food and wine are part of Italy's cultural identity. "We have a unique heritage worldwide which, thanks to the year dedicated to food, we will be able to promote even more", said Agriculture Minister Maurizio Martina. After the 2015 food-themed Universal Exposition in Milan, Italy's food will take the limelight once more, the minister said. "It's not only a matter of stressing the economic success of this sector which in 2017 reached record exports worth 40 billion euros but also of stressing the deep connection between food, land and cultural identity", he said. "We will do this through a new project on food districts", which will involve farmers, fishermen and chefs. The minister said 2018 will be dedicated to Gualtiero Marchesi, doyen of Italy's superchefs, who died on December 26, who embodied "all these values, promoting them at an international level". Cultural Minister Dario Franceschini said the year of Italian food will provide an important occasion to "make a big investment on the image of our country in the world".
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