types of italian bread

15 Best Types of Italian Bread

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Which are the best types of Italian bread? Like with pasta, there are plenty of options for Italian white bread or one made of any other grains, shapes, and sizes. There are more than 350 Italian bread types in the country, since, with anything else, each region, and the area has its own specific type, which is the most popular, but you might not find it on the other side of the country. This makes buying bread too hard for a newbie because you’ve got so many options when you walk into an Italian Panetteria (bakery). In this article, we will share with you some of the most famous types and we’ll also highlight which part of Italy should you look for it.

15 types of Italian bread

No matter if you’re looking for Italian bread loaf, rustic Italian bread, or other types of white Italian bread, below you’ll find some of the most famous ones! We cover some sandwich bread, and local specialties as well. Moreover, we included two holiday bread types that are really popular in Italy during Christmas and Easter.

If you’re interested in other Italian food products, make sure you check our lists for the best Italian pasta brands or the best types of pizza! We cover sweets too, such as Italian desserts, but also Neopolitan desserts, and Sicilian dishes, but the best pastries too! If you’re looking for something saltier, then check out also our article for the best pasta dishes too! Before we dig in, please note that the below list is not made by ranking the products!

1. Pane Toscano

types of italian bread

A really popular type of Italian white bread is the Pane Toscano. This is one of the most simple Italian bread types, which requires only a few ingredients, and a simple process of making. You need flour, water, and yeast only for the Tuscan bread. Simple, right? This bread doesn’t have oil or salt either, yet it’s still very tasty! How come?

The secret lies in the overnight aging and the lengthy kneading processes. Due to the missing ingredients, the Pane Toscano is a perfect pairing with salty and/or oily food. It’s perfect with cured meats, aged cheese, or olive tapenades as well. As its name suggests, this bread type is a regional specialty in Tuscany and it looks like a white loaf, but it’s much flatter, springy, large, and round.

2. Focaccia

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One of our favorite types of Italian bread is the Focaccia! The Focaccia is one of the most popular Italian types of bread, which originates from the Liguria region. There are plenty of topping options for this oven-baked flatbread, and it’s really easy to make it at home too! Actually, this was one of the first Italian food I have ever baked after moving to Italy. It’s also a really popular street food in Italy.

Focaccia is easy to recognize, because of the holes on it that we make by using our fingers before putting it in the oven. This process helps the focaccia be soft on the inside, and the outside too. In its region of origin, the Focaccia is usually made plain with salt and rosemary on top of it. You can however buy those with tomatoes, and different delicious toppings too. In one of our favorite focaccia places we always get the one with ham and cheese on top of it.

3. Ciabatta

The Ciabatta is the go-to Italian white bread if you’re looking to make Italian-style sandwiches, what we know as Panini, and this is one of the best options also for small bruschetta bites too. Sandwiches in Ciabatta are good hot and cold too and they are the preferred type of bread to be used. Ciabatta is one of the most famous types of bread in Italy that’s famous internationally. It’s not an old recipe or a long tradition that you should look for when it comes to Ciabatta, since it was first created in 1982.

The concept behind the Ciabatta was to make something similar to the famous French baguette. The flavor, and the texture, is really similar, however, the Ciabatta is a tiny bit sweeter and slightly airier. It’s also much shorter in length, but larger in diameter. These last details are helping it be softer for longer. If you want to serve bruschetta plates it’s recommended to use ciabatta instead of baguette, because it’s safer for the topping not to drop.

4. Piadina Romagnola

types of italian bread

When it comes to the region of Emilia Romagna, and white Italian bread, we are cheating a little bit, since this isn’t a bread actually. The Piadina Romagnola belongs to the type of Italian bread that’s made specifically to be consumed with filling. Piadina was awarded the IGP trademark as well, and it’s a flatbread that became a symbol of poverty when Italian Giovanni Pascoli, an Italian poet wrote a poem titled La Piada.

To have an idea, the Piadina is really similar to the tortilla in which the gyros or kebab is made, only this is a bit thicker, so it’s not so easy to fold. Now, the Piadina is most famous in Emilia Romagna, and most specifically in the Romagna side of the Emilia Romagna region (the coastal part). Filling varies from cured meat, cheese, and vegetables or greens like arugula. The Piadina is also really popular as street food in Italy.

5. Pane Pugliese

types of italian bread

When it comes to rustic Italian bread, and especially to Italian bread loaf, the Pane Pugliese is a big favorite! As I have mentioned plenty of times, there are hundreds of types of Italian bread out there, and the Pane Pugliese is definitely one of the most popular finds! Like many other bread types, Pane Pugliese was consumed for a long time only by the lower class.

Its origin dates back to the 15th century and it was brought over by Turks who were ruling the south of Italy in that period. Pane Pugliese is a crunchy crusted domed loaf and it has rich flavor thanks to the long fermentation process. Over the years, however, many Italians started to make and/or eat the sourdough-like Pane Pugliese. This bread is also great for bruschetta if you want to make bigger ones than what you could do with the Ciabatta.

6. Gnocco Fritto

Gnocco Fritto is one of those Italian bread types which you’ll only find in one specific area of Italy, and that’s the province of Piacenza in the region of Emilia Romagna. The town of Piacenza was my first home in Italy, and the Gnocco Fritto has become one of my favorite Aperitivo food really fast. Gnocco Fritto is a fried type of bread, it comes in small rectangle shapes.

The taste of it is really similar to the Langos in Hungary. It’s served warm, on the side with cured meat and a cheese plate. If you’re passing in Piacenza, it’s always good to look for local bars and bistros which serve Gnocco Fritto at Aperitivo time and find places where they serve also the cream of Gorgonzola cheese on the side. When you put Gorgonzola cream in/on the Gnocco Fritto, that’s where your life will change forever!

7. Ciambella

When it comes to other rustic Italian bread than the previously mentioned Pane Pugliese, you want to pay attention to Ciambella as well. This is one of those Italian types of bread that just like Pane Pugliese, is popular in the south. You will find Ciambella mostly in the region of Puglia and Basilicata.

The process of making Ciambella is by rolling out the dough into a thick sausage shape, and joining it together. It somewhat looks like a bagel, the difference is that the Ciambella dough is rolled out and joined, while the bagel is cut in shape. Outside, the Ciambella is crusty, while the inside is soft. It’s great for sandwiches, as well as to pair it with cheese and cured ham as Aperitivo.

8. Ciriola

types of italian bread

Another interestingly-shaped of the types of Italian bread types! Ciriola is an Italian bread loaf originating from the Latium (Lazio) region where the capital city, Rome is located. Beyond all the Roman dishes, bread is really important in the area too, and Ciriola is actually an ancient Roman bread with hundreds of years of history.

Like many on this list, Ciriola was mainly consumed by the working class once, and then it became famous. Ciriola is an oblong-shaped bread, which is also used as a preferred sandwich bread stuffed with cured meat, cold cuts, vegetables, and cheese. Outside Ciriola is crusty, while inside it’s soft, so this makes it the perfect base for a good Panino.

9. Pane di Altamura

While writing this article on Italian white bread types, in my kitchen there’s actually a Pane di Altamura waiting for me! This is a simple, yet delicious Italian bread. Altamura is made with fine semolina flour and you can use it in plenty of ways. It’s the type of bread that goes with everything! You can pair it with stew or soup, but you can also use it for sandwiches, dip it in olive oil, or anything in between.

Now, as many others on this list, Pane di Altamura also has Protected Destination of Origin (DOP) statues, and this means that it must be made according to all rules and regulations of the original making process. Pane di Altamura originates also from Altamura in the province of Bari in the Puglia region, and it’s definitely a favorite of all Italians!

10. Schiacciata

Schiacciata is one of the best things to you eat in Tuscany, and it’s also one of those white Italian bread types you can’t miss if you’re in the region! While Italian types of bread come in all shapes and sizes, Schiacciata is really similar to the Focaccia actually, but it’s still different. Schiacciata doesn’t come with different toppings or spices.

It’s instead used for sandwiches. The best ever sandwiches if I may add! In Tuscany, the Schiacciata is made with olive oil and salt, but it’s not overflowing with olive oil on the top like the Focaccia. You can find around the Tuscany region in bigger towns and cities many places that are specializing in Schiacciata sandwiches, and they offer them with different fillings of cold cuts, cured meat, cheese, sauces, and vegetables.

11. Panettone

While we are speaking of different types of Italian bread, sweet bread types can’t miss the list! Besides the Pandoro, Panettone is one of the most popular types of bread in Italy during the Christmas holidays. Panettone is originating from Milan, and it’s a delicious treat that’s shaped like a wide cylinder and inside it’s filled with sweet ingredients, such as dried, or candied fruits.

It’s not an easy job to make Panettone at home, since you need the shape, and it will also take a few days. For this reason, Italians prefer buying panettone in the grocery store from the Italian food brands that are known as the best to do it. The reason it takes so long to be ready is that you need to cure the dough in a way that’s similar to sourdough, which takes time. In northern Italy especially, however, you can find Panettone year-around, since it’s really popular, and in some places, it’s consumed for Easter and other celebrations too.

12. Pane Carasau

Pane Carasau is one of the most appreciated Italian bread types on the Island of Sardinia. This is a crispy, paper-thin flatbread that’s typical on this beautiful island. Pane Carasau is the perfect antipasto, or Aperitivo bread as well. We had Pane Carasau many times while exploring the north coast of Sardinia, as well as in some hotels in Sardinia it was served.

Now, Pane Carasau is not coming alone. It’s topped with olive oil and sea salt to make it more delicious. Then, this bread is perfect to be paired with strongly flavored antipasto bites which include Sardinian sausages, cured meat, matured cheese, but also sweet green olives. If you’re visiting Sardinia, don’t miss out on Pane Carasau!

13. Pandoro

When we speak about types of Italian bread, as you’ve already seen with the Panettone, we don’t only do sour, or salty, or no-taste bread, but sweet ones too. Pandoro is a type of bread that’s specifically consumed during the Christmas holidays. At this time of the year, the grocery stores are packed with Pandoro, and especially in the Veneto region, you’d see a Pandoro on every Christmas table.

This holiday bread is made in a distinctive star shape, which is also really eye-catching. You can’t make a Pandoro if it’s not the right size and shape, since that’s not a Pandoro anymore. The main tasting notes are vanilla, lemon, and honey, and the outside is sprinkled with powdered sugar. If you’re visiting northern Italy during the holidays, at Christmas markets as well as in grocery stores, you’ll find plenty of Pandoro!

14. Coppia Ferrarese

When it comes to types of Italian bread, they will definitely come in hundreds of different shapes and forms. Like the Coppia Ferrareses itself, which is quite a unique find! The name means the couple from Ferrara since Coppia means couple, and Ferrarese means from Ferrara. Now, the Coppia Ferrarese is made of two strips of dough with a central piece.

This type of bread has also been awarded the IGP trademark, and this means that at least one primary ingredient, or a phase of the production that makes Coppia Ferrarese unique, must take place in Ferrara. This is sourdough, and it’s really popular in the area of Ferrara. You can also have it as street food if you’re in a hurry and you just want to get something simple very fast.

15. Baba Rustico

If you’re looking for rustic Italian bread, here is a really unique one that is so regional, that most Italians, especially up north, don’t even know it exists. Baba Rustico is a really unique types of Italian bread. It’s shaped like a bundt cake, and I know the picture makes you think it’s sweet, but it’s quite savory actually.

Baba Rustica beyond being savory, it’s usually filled with meat (cold cuts) like Salami or Prosciutto Cotto, and Italian cheese like Parmigiano or cubes of Fontina, Provolone, or Scamorza cheese. This is a typical type of bread in Italy in the Campania region, and you can surely find it in Naples, Sorrento, and in-between. Baba Rustica is usually made when people are hosting dinner or a party.

Wrapping up the 15 types of Italian bread

So these were the 15 Italian white bread and not only white Italian bread types. We hope you’re ready now to go to an Italian bakery and know exactly what is what! Beyond the 15 type of Italian bread we listed, remember that there are over 350 types of bread in Italy, so you still can find quite a few we didn’t list in our article. Make sure you check what’s famous in different regions of Italy, pasta, pastries, and other types of food, and explore all the amazing food in this country!

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