italian bakeries

Why Italian bakeries are so good and among the best in the world?

Italian bakeries are certainly among the best in the world. The choice of quality ingredients, and a long baking tradition preserved for generations, make the difference. Let’s discover together all the types of Italian bread.

The ancient art of baking

The history of bakeries and the development of bread making has been handed down through the experience of peoples and production techniques. In fact, bread has old roots, even before the times of the ancient Romans. This is why Italian bakeries are among the best in the world. Thanks to them, indeed, the professions of the baker or the miller became essential for the society. However, in the feudal age there was a setback, following the barbarian invasions. But, with the Renaissance the activity resumed at a rapid pace. The types of bread and flours increased. Above all, white or dark bread distinguished the rich table from the popular one.


Italian bakeries are among the best in the world also because of the ancient kneading and baking techniques.

The communal oven

During the Middle Ages, in the villages there was only one oven for everyone. A communal oven was an oven that the community members shared and used togheter. Each family had its own stamp with which to mark the bread raw, so as to recognize it. Bread was not made every day, but at periodic intervals. The loaves were always quite large because they had to withstand the long winter months without going mouldy. The first examples of wood-fired ovens were born in Egyptian times and then perfected by the Greeks. They were responsible for the introduction of the first public ovens. The turning point came in the 18th century with the creation of mechanical mixers and electric ovens. But we only see the first example of a domestic oven around 1700. Today, some ancient communal ovens are popular again, and available to citizens in some Italian towns and cities.

The sourdough starter

Sourdough starter is the only leavening agent used for bread making until the 19th century, when brewer’s yeast took over. It is a natural yeast that allows the dough to ferment and therefore grow. According to legend, in ancient Egypt, about 4000 years ago, a young servant forgot to put freshly kneaded bread into the oven. The next day he decided to bake it anyway, so as not to waste it. He saw that the bread had not only tripled in volume, but was also much crispier on the outside once baked and much better. He discovered the sourdough starter. Even today, in Italy we use sourdough starter for the typical Neapolitan pizza, for example, where slow leavening is essential.

sourdough starter

The sourdough starter is one of the secrets to have a crispy crust and a soft crumb with a typical flavour.

All shapes of bread

In Italy we classify bread based on the city we live in or the place it comes from. For many years Italy was divided into small kingdoms. Indeed, each region, often even each city within it, has a characteristic variety of bread. Flours, shapes, cooking and preparation methods change. It is a variety that characterizes our country and underlines its beauty and the importance of its culinary tradition. This is why Italian bakeries are among the best in the world. From north to south, Italy offers an incredible variety of products. Let’s see together which are the shapes and types of bread most loved by Italians.

The most famous bread in the north

Grissini – Piedmontese crunchy bread. The thin and elongated shape is very characteristic.

Michetta – typical Milanese star-shaped bread. Also called Rosetta. It is a puffed up bread, therefore empty inside and perfect for filling.

Piadina romagnola – one of the most famous baked products in Emilia Romagna region. Made of simple ingredients, a salso extra virgin olive oil and lard.


The famous Michetta, called also Rosetta.

The shapes of bread in central Italy

Pane Carasau – typical Sardinian bread. Super thin and crunchy made with yeast, salt, water and durum wheat semolina flour.

Homemade bread – from Abruzzo region. Golden brown crust and compact crumb. Perfect for the scarpetta, the typical italian ritual to mop up the sauce left on the plate.

Terni bread – typical of Umbria region. It is prepared with soft wheat flour, water, salt, sour yeast and brewer’s yeast.

pane terni

The Terni bread is famous because of the characteristic flavour with no salt added.

Southern regional bread

Matera PGI bread – obtained with re-milled semolina flour from a fine variety of 100% durum wheat.

Pane Cafone – typical Neapolitan loaf. It is made using natural yeast and soft wheat. Smooth and crunchy crust.

Altamura Dop bread – famous Apulian bread. It is made with durum wheat flour, water, natural yeast, salt and malt.

Mafalda – typical Sicilian small bread, with the characteristic S shape. Malt and sesame seeds are also added to the usual ingredients.

pane altamura

Altamura DOP bread is one of the most famous Italian product.

Bread in Rome

Even in Lazio region there are many varieties of bread. If we enter a bakery in Rome we can certainly find the famous Pane di Lariano, from the Castelli Romani area, made of semi-wholemeal soft wheat. Or the Casereccio di Genzano IGP, obtained with natural yeast, excellent for bruschetta. You cannot miss the Ciriola, a typical Lazio loaf, with a rounded shape in the center and narrow and elongated at the ends. Perfect for the classic sandwich. And then how can we not mention the delicious Roman white pizza, Pizza bianca, to be split in half and filled with mortadella? We leave below some addresses where you can enjoy fresh and delicious bread in Rome. And if you want, of course, also with us during one of our tours!

– Antico Forno Roscioli, Via dei Chiavari 34

– Forno Campo de’ Fiori, Piazza Campo de’ Fiori 22

– Forno Conti & Co., Viale Giusti 18

– Panificio Bonci, Via Trionfale 36

pizza bianca

The popular roman Pizza bianca, filled with tasty mortadella.

There is no doubt, the italian forno is one of those magical places, where tradition and modernity blend to create something unique that continues to source from the past and that delights our palates every day, in the present.