lo pane altrui...
of others' bread, how salt it is...
|a Tuscan loaf|
Italians call this bread sciocco (shokko), meaning silly but also, in this case, without salt. According to learned Italian etymologists, the concrete sense of sciocco predates the abstract one, but the meanings appear to be linked. Bread without salt seems pretty silly to me too.
|Etruscan tomb, Tarquinia, a funeral banquet|
I only use pane toscano for crostini or bruschetta, where salt is a component in the topping anyway or for ribollita where it is essential, also because of its texture.
Ultimately, the sad fact is that bread is not one of Italy's culinary strong points. The bread that is most prized here, that of Ferrara, is soft, fine, white and characterless, although interestingly shaped.
|bread from Altamura, Puglia|
|medieval bread mill, Altopascio, Lucca|