Of all the topics about Italian travel, I bet few of you figured I would write about bread. I am hypersensitive to others speak about their travel experiences – especially travel in Italy. If you have spent any time in a big city you know subconsciously overhearing conversation is easy to do – regardless if that’s your intent. The comments people make about Italy always astound me. Italy either fits you like a glove or turns you off faster than you can say ciao. I have heard a handful of people say the bread in Italy is awful. At first I didn’t think much of it, but on my last trip across the pond I started making observations.
The farther south I went; the better the bread tasted. In Bologna the bread was dry and crumbly. In Firenze the bread was still dry and crumbly. By the time I got to Roma it got easier to find fresh soft bread, but often it was dry. When I arrived in Napoli I was almost amazed by the fact that it was exactly what I was looking for. The bread was soft and chewy. After a few conversations with the locals I found my answer. Most bread cooked in the south, especially in Napoli, uses salt in the recipe. Most bread north of Roma doesn’t typically use salt and as a result it doesn’t taste very good to American palettes. The bread at restaurants is not free and costs any where from €2,00 – €8,00.
So if a restaurant makes the bread on sight or orders it from the local bakery consider asking if salt is used before you make your final decision.