Some critics argue that spaghetti are not a typical Italian food, but that they originate from China.
In truth, the first evidence that discredits this theory - that Marco Polo "imported" them from the Eastern country at the end of 1200 - dates back to a century earlier.
Others believe it is an invention of the Arabs, but during the Arab occupation of Sicily - at the turn of the eleventh and twelfth century - the people of Palermo in Trabia appeared to be producing dry pasta.
Others attribute it to the Indians as early as the sixth century BC.
Beyond any dispute, we can safely say that "spaghetti" are Italian and that - at different times, with various names, in several places around the world - so many different variations of this type of pasta have been created, from linguine, to noodles, to ramen.
After all, wheat - as well as rice - was widespread throughout the world, as was the custom to produce flour.
What is certain is that the first recipe combining pasta and tomato dates to 1839. Since then they have never left one another!
Ippolito Cavalcanti, Duke of Buonvicino (1787-1860), among his homemade recipes part of a theoretical-practical cookery book written in a strict Neapolitan dialect, includes "Vermicelli with Pommodoro".
In more recent times - that is, in the first half of 1900s - two-meter long spaghetti were still left to dry in the sun on long sticks, until artificial drying was introduced. A true revolution in the world of pasta.
Spaghetti quickly became a staple food for Italians, from North to South.
Each region, each family enriches through a personal interpretation the vast repertoire of recipes that make use of spaghetti as their main ingredient.
Among the most famous recipes - the best to enhance this type of pasta - the "spaghetti all'amatriciana", "carbonara", spaghetti "alla puttanesca" and "allo scoglio", but also fixtures like "aglio, olio e peperoncino" (garlic, oil and chili pepper), all recipes that have saved many dinners for many Italians!
Spaghetti garnered attention also on the big screen, featuring great actors and Italian icons, baptizing even an entire generation of films, where characters do not eat spaghetti, but beans!
Westerns produced and directed by Italian filmmakers, between 1964 and 1978, nicknamed "spaghetti western" were made famous worldwide by great directors such as Sergio Leone and the stunning soundtracks by Ennio Morricone.
In "Poverty and Nobility", Antonio De Curtis, better known as Totò, slips into his pockets the spaghetti he can't eat.
Consolation is found with spaghetti in "We All Loved Each Other So Much" by Ettore Scola. Diego Abatantuono misses them in "Marrakech Express" in front of a plate of couscous ("Some spaghetti would be better").
They are many film scenes in which pasta is king ...
Memorable and romantic was the candlelit dinner with spaghetti and meat sauce in "Lady and the Tramp" by Walt Disney.
Spaghetti and Numbers!
In the past 15 years, the annual production of pasta has grown by 56%, from 9,300,000 tons to 14,500,000; producing countries (above 1,000 tons) have increased by 74%, from 27 to 47.
There are those who toyed with these numbers - supplied in 2014 by the Italian Association of Confectionery and Pasta Industries (Aidepi) - by calculating how many laps around the world could be completed with the pasta produced in the world in 2014: 6.5 million kilometers!
160 laps around the world!
Italy is of course ahead, with 3,500,000 tons of pasta produced, and a per capita consumption of 25 kg, followed by Tunisia (16 kg), Venezuela (12 kg), Greece (11.2 kg), and the United States of America (8/9 kg.) And pasta consumption is growing, according to Google with the "Food Trends 2016" - US Report.
In the same period Italian exports have grown to 57% of national production: 2,000,000 tons with an estimated value of two billion Euro.
In the world, one plate of pasta out of four is prepared with Italian pasta (24%), in Europe seven plates out of ten.
The countries who love Italian pasta the most are the USA, Canada, Asia, China and South Africa.
After having whetted your appetite, here is one of the most popular recipes…
spaghetti alla puttanesca!
We love Spaghetti!