Pane Sciocco: Classic Tuscan Bread

Pane Sciocco: Classic Tuscan Bread

“Tu proverai sì come sa di sale
lo pane altrui, e come è duro calle
lo scendere e 'l salir per l'altrui scale.”

So wrote Dante in his Divine Comedy, describing his soon-to-be exile from Firenze: “You will experience how salty is others’ bread, and how difficult is climbing and descending others’ stairs.”

Yes, sure, he’s reminding us to consider another person's perspective or worldview — but at Eataly, we have a more literal interpretation. Read: Dante is ragging on how salty all non-Tuscan bread tasted to him. (And something about stairs.)

Why? The great poet grew up eating pane sciocco, the tasty Tuscan bread that is made without a grain of salt.

It's true. In fact, pane sciocco translates to “stupid bread,” perhaps because of its simple saltless nature. It was first created in the 12th century, when salt taxes were radically raised. Rather than pay up, local bakers rebelled with pane sciocco. The tradition continues centuries later: the classic bread is still found in nearly every corner bakery in Toscana today.

At Eataly, we love pane sciocco. The large, crusty loaf perfectly balances the region’s well-seasoned meats and cheeses, like prosciutto and Pecorino Toscano; it’s a key ingredient in many bread-based recipes. This month only, our bakers are making pane sciocco following traditional recipes, so you can bring the artisanal bread of Dante into your home.

Enjoy on its own with Tuscan extra virgin olive oil; pair with salumi and formaggi; or incorporate it into crunchy bruschetta, warming ribollita soup, vibrant panzanella salad, and many more. Best of all, these recipes often call for day-old bread, so you don't have to rush through the loaf all at once — but we won't be surprised if you do!

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