About 350 types of bread come from Italy, from crusty bread to unleavened flat loaves and crispy breadsticks.
Here are 35 of the best Italian bread found in some restaurants and bakeries.
This famous Italian bread studded with lemon peels, candied orange, and raisins is traditionally enjoyed for Christmas. Panettone is often exchanged as a gift between friends and family and is an act of friendliness and a wish for a happy holiday. This delicious treat is usually eaten with hot chocolate, eggnog, or ice cream.
2. Ciabatta bread
Literally translated to a slipper in terms of its shape, Ciabatta is a kind of Italian white bread made from wheat flour and yeast. It is characterized by several air pockets inside and a crispy crust. Ciabatta is the ideal choice for sandwiches because the crumb absorbs liquids very well. Today many Italian regions have their unique variations of the original recipe and produce ciabattas with milk, marjoram, whole wheat flour, and olive oil.
This traditional Sicilian bread is an oven-baked flatbread with an oregano tomato sauce made from breadcrumbs, anchovies, onions, and local cheeses such as ricotta, tuma, provolone, or caciocavallo. Sfincione is popular street food from the island, especially in Palermo, where street vendors often drive their three-wheel Piaggio Ape Food Trucks.
4. Farinata di Ceci
This traditional Ligurian dish is a simple flatbread baked in the oven and made entirely from chickpea flour, salt, extra virgin olive oil, and water. Its origins date back to Roman times, but legend has it that Farinata, as we know it today, was invented in August 1284. Farinata di Ceci, often flavored with rosemary, can be eaten alone or with creamy crrescenza or stracchino cheese and a hint of pesto Alla Genovese.
This traditional Christmas bread comes from Verona. Unlike its cousin Panettone, it doesn’t contain dried fruit or nuts. Often, this sweet, yeasty bread is drizzled with powdered sugar, which resembles snow on mountaintops. The bread can be served with creams and sauces such as melted chocolate, whipped cream, or mascarpone, while some chefs like to take it out and then fill it with ice cream, berries, or custard.
6. Colomba Pasquale
Colomba Pasquale is a sweet bread prepared for Easter. It is shaped like a dove, covered with sugar and sprinkled with almonds. The dough usually consists of sugar, butter, yeast, eggs, and flour. The name of the dessert, in relation to its shape, means Easter dove. Sweet, buttery, and spongy, the bread is often filled with lemon zest or candied fruit.
7. Focaccia di Recco col Formaggio
This delicious cheese-filled focaccia comes from the city of Recco, the gastronomic capital of Liguria, where you can find it in all bakeries, pizzerias, and restaurants. It was invented in the 12th century when, according to legend, the Recco citizens made this dish for the Crusaders with the little they had: cheese, olive oil, water, and flour.
Unlike many focaccia flatbreads, this is made without yeast and has a thin, hand-drawn, crust filled with smooth and lightly seasoned cow's milk cheese by alpine pastures called crescenza or stracchino.
Schiacciata is a traditional type of bread from Tuscany and Umbria made from flour, sugar, water, yeast, and olive oil. It’s quite similar to focaccia, although preparing schiacciata takes much less effort than focaccia.
The name Schiacciata means pressed and refers to the process of pressing the dough with your fingers when it is placed in pans or tins. The texture of this bread is crispy, but moist and soft and can be topped with tomatoes, oregano, garlic, and cheese.
Tigella is a traditional Italian disk-shaped bread that is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. It’s baked in special clay molds and typically covered with a paste of lardo, garlic, rosemary, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Often, the molds have a decorative symbol on the sides, which is etched into the dough when baked. Tigella was probably invented by the poor in the Apennines Mountains, where farming families gathered around the house to make their evening bread.
This is a classic Italian dessert that was invented in the 13th century to commemorate the first Christmas in Verona with the Scala family. Like most Italian Christmas bread, the bread is flavored with lemon zest and vanilla. But what sets Nadalin apart is its crispy crust made from pine nuts, almonds, marsala wine, and granulated sugar.
11. Carasau slice
This artisanal Italian bread is made from durum wheat flour, salt, yeast, and water. It is extremely thin and baked twice to make it crispier. With a unique flavor and a strong aroma of muesli, attic, and wood stoves, this flatbread is ideal as a cookie and is generally appreciated as a garnish with various appetizers, cheeses, entrees, and soups.
The decorative casatiello is a classic Italian Easter bread. It is made with sourdough based on lard or olive oil, which is then filled with cheese and meat, rolled up, and baked in a large ring shape. The stuffing consists of pork salumi, Italian sausage, and semi-diced cheese. Although the choice of meat is different, Neapolitan salami, pancetta, prosciutto, and ham are the most common types.
Maritozzi comes from ancient Rome and are traditional Italian sweet rolls that are cut in half and then filled with whipped cream. In Rome’s pastries, maritozzi is a staple food generally purchased for breakfast and consumed with coffee. They are made with flour, yeast, fresh cream, salt, butter, sugar, eggs, and optional ingredients such as orange and lemon zest, candied orange zest, pine nuts, and raisins.
14. Focaccia Barese
This Apulian delicacy is prepared traditionally with a smooth, yeast dough that combines mashed potatoes, wheat flour, and semolina. It is usually garnished with olives and cherry tomatoes, but some varieties sometimes use other combinations of ingredients, such as rosemary, coarse salt, or different vegetables.
Crescentina is a type of puff pastry made from flour, milk, salt, lard, and a leavening agent. The dough is fried in butter and served hot. Although crescentina is delicious on its own, it is usually served with fresh cheese and sausages typical of the region, or with chocolate-hazelnut cream and jam.
16. Pane Tuscano
Pane Toscano is a type of bread that is common in the central Italian regions of Umbria and Tuscany. Due to its mild flavor, unsalted Tuscan bread is not intended for personal use. Therefore, it is usually served fresh from wood-fired ovens with sausages such as salami, prosciutto, or strong cheese to keep the balance of its salty and intense aromas.
Tortano is an aromatic Italian bread filled with a variety of ingredients such as pork cracklings, ham, cheese, and eggs. This delicious bread can be combined with various dishes or consumed as a full-fledged meal.
Michetta is a classical Italian white bread, characterized by its bulbous and round shape, hard crust as well as a slight hollow and airy texture from the inside. The bread is best served fresh and generally filled and appreciated as a sandwich. It can be combined with prosciutto, mozzarella, and pesto.
19. Pinzini Ferraresi
Pinzini Ferraresi is a fried flatbread traditionally made in the Italian city of Ferrara. The dough consists of flour, yeast, oil or butter, salt, and water. It is first flattened, then sliced and fried until golden. Pinzini is best enjoyed hot as antipasti, served with sliced sausage, cheese, and marinated vegetables.
20. Schiacciata di Pasqua
Schiacciata di Pasqua is a traditional Italian bread from Tuscany. This fluffy bread is seasoned with aniseed, and once sliced, the aniseed aroma fills the room. The ingredients are flour, butter, sugar, vin santo, aniseed, yeast, eggs, olive oil, Strega or Sambuca liqueur, grated lemon rind, grated orange rind, salt, and honey.
Ciriola is a classic Roman bread that is crispy on the outside and has a soft crumb on the inside. It usually consists of white flour, sugar, salt, yeast, and olive oil. The bread dries quickly but is often used the following day to make croutons. It makes a good panino when fresh.
22. Pane di Altamura
Pane di Altamura, named after a town on one of the hills of the Murge plateau, is a rustic-style sourdough bread traditionally made in the provinces of Barletta-Andria-Trani and Bari for centuries. It is made only from durum wheat dough, water, salt, and natural yeast. For a simple snack, this bread is simply sprinkled with extra virgin olive oil and drizzled with salt or topped with olive tapenade or tomato.
The tradition of making this sweet bread started in Valteline. It was generally believed that when French troops were in the area in 1797, Napoleon asked the chiefs to develop a dessert that used only locally available ingredients.
At his request, the chefs created this sourdough bread, which combines rye and wheat flour with walnuts, pine nuts, raisins, figs, hazelnuts, butter, and eggs. This fragrant bread is often referred to as low panettone and is usually sliced and traditionally soaked in brandy before consumption.
24. Pane Rustico
This Sicilian bread has been prepared in the same traditional way for centuries and is a kind of homemade sourdough bread. It is usually baked in a wood oven and goes perfectly with many dishes from Sicilian cuisine, especially soups and stews. Crunchy on the outside and wonderfully tender on the inside, Pane Rustico also goes well with cold cuts and cheese.
25. Matera bread
Pane di Matera is a rustic-style sourdough bread made from semolina pasta, water, salt, and natural yeast. Due to the use of a local wheat variety (Senatore Cappelli) and special kneading methods, Matera bread stays unusually fresh for a week or even longer and retains its incomparable taste and aroma. .
26. Schiacciata with Ciccioli
This original Tuscan specialty from the historic Garfagnana region is a type of Focaccia flatbread studded with crispy pork crackers. Its name comes from the Italian Schiacciare, which means "flatten" or "press".
27. Schiacciatina Mantovana
Schiacciatina Mantovana is a kind of crispy, square, or rectangular flatbread from Mantua. Schiacciatina is made from flour, yeast, olive oil, salt, butter, and water and can be enriched with pork cracklings, rosemary, or onions.
28. Focaccia Veneta
Venetian focaccia, also known in local dialect as fugassa or fugassin, is a sweet yeast bread that is traditionally prepared for Easter. It is made on a simple bread dough base enriched with honey, butter, and eggs. Patience is very important when making this dome-shaped bread as it requires dough rises or impasti.
29. Brioche col Tuppo
Brioche col tuppo is an Italian version of a Sicilian brioche. It is characterized by its round bun, which is called Tuppo. The brioche consists of honey, butter, eggs, sugar, salt, flour, yeast, and milk. Also, it can also be enriched with lemon or orange rind, apples, or saffron.
30. Pane Guttiau
Pane guttiau is a traditional Sardinian flatbread. It is quite similar to Pane Carasau, but Guttiau is thinner. The flatbread is similar to thin leaves with long tears and was originally designed for shepherds who took it to pasture because it stays fresh for long. If kept dry, it remains edible for an entire year.
31. Torta al Testo
Torta al Testo is a traditional Italian flatbread from Umbria. It is a griddle bread that is thick and circular and owes its name to the circular frying pan (Testo) on which it is prepared. There are several recipes, but they are usually made with flour, water, salt, and perhaps a little olive oil.
Certosino is an Italian sweet bread from Bologna. The bread contains candied fruit, honey, dark chocolate, cocoa powder, cocoa powder, and pine nuts. It is traditionally prepared for the Christmas holidays. The dense and rich Certosino is made without yeast, so it takes a long time before it can be eaten. Although sweet bread today contains cocoa powder and chocolate, the original did not contain any of these ingredients.
Scarpaccia is an Italian flatbread that can be prepared in sweet or savory versions. It is made up of ingredients like flour, butter, eggs, zucchini flowers, olive oil, vanilla powder, milk, and either sugar or salt. The dough is simply garnished with grated zucchini and then baked in the oven.
34. Torta delle Rose
Torta delle Rose, which means the rose cake is a delicious bouquet made of rose yeast buns filled with sweet buttercream. This simple but very attractive cake is perfect for breakfast or special occasions. Simply attach a rose and enjoy it with a cup of hot chocolate or coffee.
35. Buccellato di Lucca
Buccellato is a well-known Tuscan sweet bread that is a specialty of the Lucca province. Although it was primarily prepared for church confirmations in the past, it is now a staple in the region. The modern Buccellato is simple but tasty. It is generally made in the form of a ring. The interior is delicate, sweet, and full of raisins and aniseed. The exterior is covered with a combination of eggs and sugar, which gives it a pleasant shine.