Italy: history of Salami

Salami – Photo © Fred-22

Italian Salami: their history

History of salami: the origins.

The origins of the pig go back to the beginning of time, and the pig is undoubtedly one of the animals most appreciated by human beings. In Italy, the use of pork meat, especially salted and processed into charcuterie products, also has an ancient tradition.

Initially, animals were reared exclusively to meet the requirements of the family or the village. It was only in Etruscan times that the first forms of non-nomadic breeding had started to develop, along with a higher degree of specialization, also aimed at trading. A significant testimony arrives from the archeological site of Forcello (V century B.C.), in the province of Mantua, where 50,000 pieces of animal bones, of which 60% from pigs, were found. Their study revealed that they belonged to pigs of approximately two or three years of age and that practically no bones of the rear legs were present. It was probably then that the concept of charcuterie products was born.

History of salami: Roman times.

In Roman times, the interest progressively focused on pork legs; the breeding of pigs saw an increasingly definite improvement of the raw material and processing methods. Ham becomes the most expensive product obtained from pork and the protagonist of countless social and celebratory events.

History of salami: the Middle Ages.

With the successive Barbarian invasions, pigs become one of the most critical resources for the villages, and for the countryside, in the form of charcuterie products and the preserved meats – hams, shoulders, and pancettas – even become monetary currency. In the Middle Ages, woods are measured according to their ability to nourish pigs, rather than to their extension. It’s because pig grazing is so crucial.

History of salami: The Renaissance.

With the passing of centuries, pig breeding and the consumption of pork-related products progressively gain importance. From the triumphs of the Renaissance period, when the art of gastronomy develops, and pork appears on the most sumptuous banquet tables, up to the nineteenth century, when the first food workshops and charcuterie shops open.

Between the 12th and the 17th centuries, Italy sees a steady development of the jobs linked to the processing of pork. It’s the period when the figure of the norcino (pork butcher from Norcia) appears, and thanks to his skills, he creates new charcuterie products.

These professionals start organizing themselves into guilds or confraternities, and they start taking on important roles within the society. Bologna saw the establishment of the Corporazione dei Salaroli (the Guild of Salters). Florence, at the Medici epoch, saw the rise of the Confraternita dei Facchini di San Giovanni (the Confraternity of Saint John’s Servants) that was initially part of an association of pork butchers and then dedicated itself also to patronage and art.

In 1615, Pope Paul V recognized the Confraternity of Pork Butchers dedicated to the Saints Benedetto and Scolastica. Later, his successor Gregorius XV elevated it to Archconfraternity, which, in 1677, was also joined by the University of Norcia and Cascia Pork Butchers and Empirical Pork Physicians (types of sorcerers). Graduated, blessed, and patented, norcinos increased their fame also outside the Papal States.

Their activity, however, was seasonal in that pigs were slaughtered once a year, and there were no techniques for fresh meat preservation. They used to leave their cities (Norcia, Cascia, Florence, and Rome) at the beginning of October and return home towards the end of March when they would recuperate their daily work selling hay or gardening tools.

The fame of the norcino figure remained unchanged until the aftermath of the Second World War.

History of salami: modern times.

Today, the heritage of norcinos has been handed down to the artisans and to the food industry world that is always ready to create innovative products, sometimes rediscovering its ancient recipes.

Courtesy of Istituto Valorizzazione Salumi Italiani IVSI

Real Italian Salami products available for purchasee online.

Bresaola della Valtellina

Ask any Italian you know what they would eat if they went on a diet after the heavy Christmas holiday meals with panettoni, torroni, pandori, chocolate etc. and I could bet anything you want that bresaola would be listed in their perfect Italian diet menu.

The "real" and best bresaola is produced in Valtellina, an area of about 200 km in the centre of the Alps, in northern Lombardy, between Italy and Switzerland, and it's available here!

Product of Valtellina, Italy

Veroni Salami Milano - 1 Lb Slice

Pork and beef

The fat and lean parts are first refrigerated to harden them and are then passed under the cutter before they are minced and then mixed. This finely minced mixture is then stuffed into a stitched natural pig's intestine casing. The salami is then strung tightly together.

Product of Italy

Veroni Di Parma Salami 1 Lb.

Carefully selecting raw materials and stringently monitoring production and curing techniques to generate the highest product quality.

Product of Italy

Rovagnati Mortadella with Pistachio 1 Pound Sliced

The name “mortadella” is traced back to Roman times. According to some sources, it derives from “Mortarium” (mortar), a tool used to crush the pork. The production of mortadella, however, can be located in an area of Roman influence, which extends from Emilia Romagna to Lazio. Mortadella is in fact the most famous cooked Bolognese tradition sausage, with historical origins dating back to the sixteenth century. In more recent times the area of the original production has spread to neighboring areas.

Product of Italy

Prosciutto di Carpegna Deboned Aged 20 Months D.O.P. from Italy - 14.8 Pounds Approx.

14.8 pound (6.7 kilogram) - WEIGHT APPROXIMATES
Packaging: Vacuum-sealed Plastic with Cute Yellow Cloth Bag
Aging: 20 months

The habit of salting meat in the County of Carpegna is ancient, testified in the act of 1407. The Count of Urbino Guidantonio ordered that the market should take place in Monte Cerignone and prohibited from selling elsewhere oxen, sheep, castrated sheep, hogs and salted meat. A witness is in an elaborate part of St. Anthony Abbot, preserved in the parish of St. Leo Carpegna, where the saint is represented with a sweet ham to protect the production processes.

Product of Carpegna, Italy


Speck is made from a pig's rear thigh, which is deboned, and smothered in a dry-cure of salt and various spices, which include pepper, garlic, juniper, pimento, and sugar

Product of Italy

Cotechino from Modena IGP

This is the real Cotechino from Modena IGP (Indication Geografic Protected) a sweet, yet spicy, cooked pork sausage

Traditionally served on New Year’s Eve, crowning a bed of lentils

Originally from Modena, contechino holds a special place in the hearts, and stomachs, of most Italians due to the persisting belief that if eaten together with lentils as the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, you will be the recipient of good luck for the year to come

Our skillfully made Cotechino di Modena IGP is precooked so that the meat is guaranteed to be tender and sweet

The sausage should be heated before serving, and cut into thick slices

Product of Italy

Prosciutto (4 Lb cut) DOP Parma Negroni aged 14 months boneless from Italy

Aged for 14 months
DOP Parma Italy
4lb cut piece

Product of Italy

Italian Prosciutto di Parma Black Label D.O.P. Boneless Whole Leg - Aged 18 Months - 16 Pounds Approx.

**AGED for 18 MONTHS**
16 pound (7.3 kilogram) - WEIGHT APPROXIMATES

Ingredients: Pork, salt - Boneless

The D.O.P. label guarantees both the origin and precise production process of the ham

Product of Italy