A day in an Italian bakery

Finally… finally I get to wake up at 2am and go to experience an entire day of bread making.

Sorry the conversations in the end are in Italian.

I’ve been wanting to do it forever but for some reason I’ve been delaying it. In the small village where I was born, in the north-east of Italy, there is a great bakery, or panificio. The owner and head-baker (if such title exists) is Roberto.

As it is the nature of most small villages in Italy, possibly in the world, everybody knows everybody. I’ve known Roberto and his family for my entire life. I grew up with his bread, and I started very early being sent to buy bread, back then when life was easy, and the streets were safe. Roberto has seen me grow up, and has become in the years a very good friend. His big smile and warm personality naturally draw people in. He’s always been welcoming and interested in what I was doing with my life, so when last year I asked him if I could go there one morning and witness the magic happen, he didn’t hesitate to say “quando ca te voi!” (whenever you want, with loud voice and venetian accent…)

Bread is to me just a part of life, family, maybe existence! Bread is never missing on an Italian table, and was certainly never ever missing in my family’s table. I don’t think my dad is capable of functioning without bread at every meal. And really… bread is just delicious! Italy, as other countries, has developed a long lasting appreciation for this food, and as a consequence has devolved years and passion into developing (dare I say “designing”? yes I do) hundreds of shapes and recipes. An array of wonders of textures and flavours available in any bakery around the country. Roberto’s panificio, is no exception.

But to me, there’s really one type of bread that stands out. There is one type of bread that is particularly meaningful to me: the “pane con lo zucchero“, or, simply, bread with sugar.

This bread does make a small appearance in the video, maybe to signify the small appearance it makes in the entire production of the day. Only about 10 are made every day. And I have no idea what doesn’t everybody in the village love them and buys them everyday!

Every time I go back to visit my family, buying a pane con lo zucchero at Roberto’s panificio is one of the first things I do. It just gives me such joy! It’s for me the icon of my childhood, and the pin around which revolve many happy memories of me rollerskating under the portico and drawing with chalks on the pavement.


About francescazampollo



  1. Sylvien

    Hi I came across your video in youtube because of the picture of the bread/bun. I have been searching for the name of that type of bread/bun. Would you be kind enough to let me know?
    Thanks in advance.


    • Hi Sylvien! do you mean the bread that is in the cover image of my post? the one with sugar on top? or the bread that is in the thumbnail of my youtube video? the first, well I don’t know if it has a proper name… in my village (and in the bakery where I’ve always bought it) it’s called simply “pane con lo zucccero” (translated: bread with sugar). The one in the youtube thumbnail is called “mantovana” or “spiga”. the spiga is longer and has two or three oblique cuts and the mantovana, shorter, has one vertical cut only. But please consider, that in that picture, the bread on the right is the spiga or mantovana, the one on the left is… nothing, it’s a mistake… it’s how a mantovana would look like with no cut. hope this helps!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: