The Real Bruschetta

Bruschetta originated in Italy during the 16th century. However, origins of the dish can be traced back to Ancient Rome, when olive growers would bring their olives to a local olive press and taste a sample of their freshly pressed oil using a slice of bread (a practice still in use today to taste good olive oil).


The dish was developed as a way of salvaging bread that was going stale.

The noun bruschetta (plural bruschette, and it should be pronounced BrusKetta) comes from the Roman dialect verb “bruscare,” the equivalent of the Italian word “abbrustolire” which means ‘to toast‘, or ‘to roast over coals‘. Toasting bread and soaking it with freshly pressed olive oil is “a practice probably as old as Rome itself.

Eventually to the bruschetta were added many other ingredients, such as grilled vegetables, cheeses, and prosciutto, and whatever one’s fancy!

In Tuscany, it is called “fettunta” (greasy slice) and Tuscan bread is used, therefore without salt. A tradition linked to the 12th century, when the Maritime Republic of Pisa, a rival of the city, stopped supplying this food. The “pane sciocco” (silly bread) was born.

In Piedmont, again, it is called “soma d’aj”, soma is the heavy load of donkeys and aj the garlic (practically “a load of garlic!) 😏😁😁

In Calabria, it is called “fedda ruscia” or “toasted slice“, with the classic tomatoes, salt, pepper, and oil.


And then there is Puglia, where the farmers used the bruschetta to feed themselves during the long days in the fields with the oil obtained from the cold pressing of the olives. In Puglia, they claim they have the best ones because of their famous bread called “Pane di Altamura DOP.



The bread of Altamura is still produced today following the ancient recipe handed down from generation to generation by farmers and shepherds, since the Middle Ages. Unchanged over the centuries are the ingredients; durum wheat flour, sourdough, salt, and water, as well as the manufacturing process, divided into five phases: kneading, shaping, leavening, shaping, baking in a wood oven.

The quality of the Bread of Altamura D.O.P. it is guaranteed by the Protection Consortium, invested with the functions of control, promotion and enhancement of the D.O.P., as well as vigilance against any form of counterfeiting. By monitoring all stages of production, starting from the origin of the raw material, the Consortium guarantees the traceability of the product to the consumer and brings together farmers, millers, and bakers.

This site has a list of farmers, millers, and manufacturers (bakers).


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I lived the most part of my life in Washington DC, now in Italy getting to know again my country. Plenty of surprises, for good and bad, and lots of nostalgia for DC.

6 thoughts on “The Real Bruschetta

  1. I just finished lunch and now I’m hungry again – your fault! 🙄 Great photos and it’s also great to see “real Bruschetta” instead of that cardboard junk they sell in American restaurants.


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