21 Different Types of Italian Breads

Bread is a wonderful food, a great base for many meals and it plays a big part in virtually every food culture. Whilst Italians may not eat quite as much as many other Europeans do, they do eat it virtually every day, and Italian cuisine has a wealth of regional bread variations.

At Flavours Experiences we will have some new online cooking and baking courses running in the upcoming months. For just now why not check out our: Making Italian Bread Course with Jane Curran here


21 Types of Italian Breads


Much like the rest of Italian food culture, however, there are some important rules to bear in mind when it comes to eating bread. Most importantly, bread should always be eaten with other food, but it should not be eaten with a starchy meal. So you’ll rarely see it served with pasta in Italy!

Italy has an incredible variety of bread, with many regional versions of flatbread, sourdough, and your traditional loaf. It’s definitely worth trying some of the specialist breads that are available – you’re sure to find a new favourite!

1. Focaccia

Focaccia Italian Bread

Focaccia is an oven-baked flatbread with a similar texture to pizza dough. It’s believed that the Romans invented this style of bread – but they cooked theirs on the hearth, which produces a far crispier version than modern-day offerings.

The simplest styles of focaccia are topped with herbs and drizzled with olive oil, but you can also buy quite elaborate versions topped with vegetables or meats.

2. Pane Toscano

Pane Toscano Italian Bread

Literally translated as “Tuscan bread”, this beautiful bread is a regional specialty of Tuscany. This is a large round, springy bread that is similar to a white loaf, but much flatter. Traditionally, pane toscano is cooked in a woodfired oven giving it a unique flavour, and it’s great for mopping up a Tuscan soup or stew!

3. Pizza Bianca

Pizza Bianca Italian Bread

As the name suggests, this addition to our list is a cross between pizza and bread. The dough is rolled out quite thick, which is why it looks more like bread than pizza when it comes out of the oven!

Usually topped with some mozzarella, and a few olives and served hot with a little olive oil – you should definitely try this bread if you get the chance!

4. Ciabatta

Ciabatta Italian Bread

Perhaps the most well-known and popular Italian bread, ciabatta is a slipper-shaped bread. It has a unique, almost plasticity, texture, which makes it possible to do practically anything with this bread.

Interestingly, it is not strictly a traditional Italian bread – ciabatta was created in Italy in 1982 by an Italian miller called Arnaldo Cavallari – so can be viewed as a modern classic!

5. Coppia Ferrarese

Coppia Ferrarese Italian Bread

One of the most popular styles of bread worldwide right now is sourdough! If you’re a big sourdough fan, you should definitely try the Italian version of Coppia Ferrarese. This unusual bread even has a Protected Geographical Indication, which means at least one stage of its production must take place in Ferrara. The bread gets its flavour from that malt used to make it, coupled with its very distinctive shape (created by twisting 4 strands of dough together into a cross-shape), it’s a really unique bread!

6. Piadina Romagnola

Piadina Romagnola Italian Bread

Originally a staple for the poor peasantry of Emilia-Romagna, this flatbread has now been awarded a Protected Geographical Indication status and has a special place within this region’s cuisine. The nineteenth-century poet Giovanni Pascoli even wrote an ode to it with La Piada calling it the bread of poverty, humanity, and freedom.

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7. Ciambella

Crusty on the outside, and soft on the inside – ciambella is a great rustic style of bread found in Puglia and the Basilicata areas of Italy. The dough is rolled out into a thick sausage and joined together in a circle shape to be baked, giving it its distinctive appearance.

8. Certosino

Certosino Italian Bread

Certosino is another popular Italian sweetbread, this time from the Bologna region. Traditionally prepared for Christmas festivities, this rich sweet bread is filled with almonds, pine nuts, cocoa powder, dark chocolate, honey, and candied fruit.

9. Pane di Segale

Pane di Segale

Pane di Segale is the Italian version of rye bread. In Italy, there are very few brown loaves available as virtually all wheat is milled to be white flour. Pane di Segale is a particularly nice variation of this style of bread – closely textured with a thin crust but is still soft and moist.

10. Pane Altopascio

Altopascio is a traditional saltless bread hailing from Lucchesia in Tuscany. Generally a rectangular or elongated shape, with a crunchy gold crust, this bread dates back to the middle ages. Altopascio is produced using wheat flour, giving the bread a unique earthy taste. It’s a great bread to have to accompany cheeses and cured meats, especially with a bit of salt and olive oil.

11. Baba Rustico

Baba Rustico

A Neopolitan savoury bread, baba rustico is traditionally prepared for parties or to celebrate various festivities. Once the basic dough has been prepared, it is filled with salami, prosciutto cotto, grated parmesan or grana padano, and cubes of provolone, scamorza, or fontina cheese.

12. Pane Pugliese

Pane Pugliese

The origins of pane Pugliese are found in the 15th century, brought across by the Turks who ruled the south of Italy at this time. A peasant-style sourdough bread, this crunchy-crusted domed loaf is richly flavoured due to its long fermentation process and is perfect for bruschetta!

13. Buccellato di Lucca

Buccellato di Lucca is a popular sweet bread filled with raisins and aniseed, and coated with sugar. Buccellato is a specialty from the province of Lucca in Tuscany. Invented in 1450 by local confectioners, it was mostly prepared for the church confirmations of the local wealthy elite. Nowadays, it’s an everyday food staple in the region.

14. Torta al Testo

Also known as crescia, torta al testo hails is a griddle bread originating in Umbria. It is named after the circular pan (testo) that is used to prepare it. It is a traditional flatbread, often stuffed with prosciutto, leafy greens, and cheese.

15. Fugassa

Fugassa, or fugassin, is a Venetian focaccia traditionally prepared for Easter. It’s a simple bread dough enriched with eggs, butter, and honey to create a yeasted sweetbread.

16. Friselle


The friselle, or frise, is a rusk bread that comes from Puglia, ideal for farmers out in the field or the fisherman headed out to sea. The rusks are double-baked, meaning they have a long shelf-life, and are usually soaked in saltwater before being served – often with fresh tomatoes as frisella Salentina.

17. Brioche col Tuppo

Brioche col Tuppo

This Italian version of brioche hails from Sicily and is characterized by its tuppo – a round top bun that should be removed and eaten first. Made with honey, and butter, and often enriched with orange or lemon rind, saffron, or apples. This bread is supposed to be sweet and is served with granita or gelato!

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18. Filone

Another Tuscan bread on the list, the filone is similar to the famous French baguette in shape. Its name comes from the word filo which means line – referring to the shape of the bread. Made with flour, olive oil, yeast, water, and salt, filone has a hard crispy crust and a light airy crumb inside.

19. Ciriola


Another bread linked to the Romans, ciriola is a traditional bread that is crusty on the outside and soft inside. Its name refers to the shape of the bread, as ciriola means candle in Italian, as the rolls are shaped like flames. Perfect for panino when fresh, it’s also great to make crostini with the next day.

20. Crescentina


Found through Bologna and the Emilia-Romagna regions, crescentina are crunchy little pockets of fried dough, served hot. The puffed bread is served with soft cheese, and cold cuts of meat or sweet versions are served with jam and chocolate spread.

21. Focaccia Barese

Focaccia Barese

The Pugliese version of focaccia, focaccia barese is prepared with semolina, wheat flour and potatoes. It is then topped with cherry tomatoes and olives, with local variations including other vegetables, salt, and rosemary. This bread is best served warm, with a dousing of olive oil!

Tell us about your favorite Italian bread!

If you have already been there and tried some incredible bread from Italy that we haven’t mentioned here, please let us know. We are passionate about food and travel, so we love to hear about your discoveries.

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18 comments on “21 Different Types of Italian Breads

  1. I have a question and hopefully someone can help me with this. My late Grandmother used to bake a very cheesy, very rich Italian cake/bread every year at Easter. I was much younger back then, and of course paid more attention to playing outside with my cousins rather than learn what she was making. Anyway, I remember her calling it “Albeetz,” (I typed it as it sounded so I know the spelling is wrong) and I don’t know if it was an exaggeration but I remember her saying it took 22 eggs and several pounds of cheese to make it. It was not sweet nor savory, just very rich, dense, cheesy and firm but not hard. It resembles pizza rustica but there was no meat. If anyone has any idea what this cake/bread is really called and even better, a recipe, I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you all in advance.

    1. Sara, one of the team here at Flavours, says that her mum makes this and calls it ‘canascione’ in her dialect. Have a look online and you’ll find different recipes for it.

  2. This is very nice! But I wish you would take a look at – PANE CALABRESE- ! It would be a great addition to your list.

  3. In Cinque Terre, we bought a large soft round loaf that was fine in texture, lightly orange in color and was a bit sweet and lightly orange flavored. I would love to taste that bread again!

  4. Great, I love it.
    Some simple pronunciation clues for non-Italian speakers (eg fo·CA·cha, cha·BA·ta) would certainly be beneficial.

  5. The pane di segale that I know comes from the Valtellina and is baked in flat rings, so it is much crustier than the pan formed loaves you picture, which I am thinking are more common in Trentino-Alto Adige. By the way, agree on focaccia barese, timmy.

  6. I am trying to find the real name for a large round Italian bread, studded with sesame seeds. This bread is about 10 to 12 inches in diameter, with a hole in the middle, like you’d see in a donut. The bread is very light, crispy and airy inside. I buy it at an Italian market and they refer to it as a “Sesame Round.” Sharing the name and a recipe for this bread would be most appreciated.

  7. Has anyone heard of bread rolls called Pucci it’s a lovely white bread roll with black olives and dusted with flour and eaten warm and originate from Puglia

  8. Does anyone know an Italian bread that is round snd smooth on the outside snd very dense snd very white on the inside. My 93 year old mother in law remember s her uncle bringing this from a bakery about 40 years ago ! She called it moon bread

  9. Is there a recipe for Filone? Do you serve it with olive oil and pepper? Not sure of the ingredients of the oil to dip in, just know it’s delicious!

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Food, Recipes, Lifestyle and Travel blog – by the Flavours Holidays team.