The founder of Pizza Express, Peter Boizot, initiated this longstanding partnership with Venice in Peril in 1975 when he heard about the extensive work the charity was doing to contribute to the restoration of the heritage of Venice following the floods in 1966. His support began with the invention of a specialist Venetian pizza, based on a medieval recipe, which he named 'Pizza Veneziana' and is sold throughout this famous restaurant chain. To this day a percentage of each Pizza Veneziana sold is donated to Venice in Peril. This initiative has just reached the £2 million marker. Pizza Express remains a major contributing benefactor to Venice in Peril, and the Fund greatly relies on the regularity of the income provided by the partnership. The Chairman and Trustees are hugely grateful to Pizza Express and the Veneziana Fund for maintaining their generous support of the Fund's conservation and research work.
The benefits to the charity have gone far beyond just income. The partnership with such a well-known name as Pizza Express has given Venice in Peril exposure and market-awareness far beyond that which a charity of its size could have hoped to achieve on its own. Pizza Express has worked with Venice in Peril to provide extensive national media coverage, as well as sponsoring further Venice in Peril events and acting as a blueprint for further partnerships with businesses. As a direct result of the highly successful partnerships with PizzaExpress, Venice in Peril has attracted other businesses to become benefactors and form similar ongoing business partnerships
This is probably the longest standing arts and business relationship and has given a small charity a national platform. Venice in Peril could not make the difference it makes without PizzaExpress.
Peter Boizot was awarded his MBE in l986 and in 1996 he was awarded Commendatore dell’ordine al Merito della Rupubblica Italiana for his devotion and services to the State of Italy directly relating to the PizzaExpress initiative for Venice in Peril.
Commendatore dell’ordine al Merito della Rupubblica Italiana was instituted in 1951 and is the highest ranking honour and most senior order of the Republic. It is awarded in five degrees for "merit acquired by the nation" in the fields of literature, the arts, economy, public service, and social, philanthropic and humanitarian activities .