Panzanella [pantsaˈnɛlla] or panmolle [pamˈmɔlle] is a Tuscan and Umbrian chopped salad of soaked stale bread, onions and tomatoes that is popular in the summer. It often includes cucumbers, sometimes basil and is dressed with olive oil and vinegar.

Alternative namesPanmolle
Place of originItaly
Region or stateTuscany, Umbria
Main ingredientsBread, tomatoes, onions

It is also popular in other parts of central Italy.


The 16th-century artist and poet Bronzino sings the praises of onions with oil and vinegar served with toast[1] and, a page later, speaks of a salad of onions, purslane, and cucumbers.[2][3] This is often interpreted as a description of panzanella.[4]

The name is believed to be a portmanteau of "pane", Italian for bread, and "zanella", a deep plate in which it is served.[5]


A close-up view of a panzanella

Panzanella was based on onions, not tomatoes, until the 20th century.[6]

Modern panzanella is generally made of stale bread soaked in water and squeezed dry, red onions, tomatoes, olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Cucumbers and basil are often added.

Other ingredients—lettuce, olives, mozzarella, white wine, capers, anchovies, celery, carrots, red wine, tuna, parsley, boiled eggs, mint, bell peppers, lemon juice, and garlic—are sometimes used, but Florentine traditionalists disapprove of them.[4]

See also


  1. "In lode delle cipolle", Capitoli faceti editi ed inediti di Mess. Agnolo Allori detto il Bronzino..., Venice, 1822 text
  2. Bronzino, Agnolo; Magrini, Pietro (January 25, 1822). "Li capitoli faceti editi ed inediti di mess". Dalla Tipografia di Alvisopoli via Google Books.
  3. Zeldes, Leah A. (2 September 2009). "Eat this! Panzanella: Ripe tomatoes turn stale bread into manna". Dining Chicago. Chicago's Restaurant & Entertainment Guide, Inc. Archived from the original on 6 March 2012.
  4. Bazzichi, Marco (18 August 2010). "Panzanella, tra tradizione e le varianti «immigrate»" [Panzanella, between tradition and 'immigrant' variants]. Corriere Fiorentino (in Italian). Archived from the original on 20 August 2010.
  5. Dolce Jasmine (2017-11-14), Panzanella salad: What you should know, archived from the original on 2021-12-18, retrieved 2017-11-14
  6. The earliest mention of tomatoes in panzanella found in Google Books is in 1928, in Le vie d'Italia (Rivista mensile del Touring Club Italiano 75)

Further reading

  • Sangregorio, Paola (2020). "Panzanella e altre storie" [Panzanella and other stories]. Giornale di bordo (in Italian). 55 (3): 24–25. doi:10.1400/286720.
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