An anonymous document that has been circulating in my husband’s office has fallen into my hands. The document, with a very formal cover page and introduction, was born as a joke but has become the definitive guide to the best Schiacciata all’olio in Florence, with a ranking of all bakeries where to buy it. With permission, I have translated and adapted some parts of the guide.

Definition of Schiacciata all’olio

The Florentine schiacciata all’olio, known in Italian as focaccia, comes from the Latin focàcia, meaning cooked over the hearth. Composed of water, flour, rising agent and salt, many varieties around Italy exist. The Florentine one uses a goodly amount of olive oil and large grain salt, and the best is cooked in a wood burning oven. It should be crispy but not hard, oily but not greasy. Clearly an art that can be perfected, or done badly.

Note: this salty treat is not to be confused with the carneval cake called Schiacciata alla fiorentina which is a sponge cake, usually filled with cream and topped with icing sugar.

Best bakeries in Florence by area

*This is the list provided to me, with a few of my own additions, but for the most part it’s all from The Document, including the commentary, except where information required expansion. Information is correct as of December 2011.

Pugi – from the official website

Quartiere 1 (historical center)

  • Pugi (piazza San Marco): also available in quartiere 2 (below), frequented by university students and everyone else passing by, the schiacciata and pizza is excellent but costly. Vegetarians beware, there’s lard in just about everything.
  • Il Fornaio di via S.Agostino (zona S.Spirito) is reputed to be good.
  • Cantinetta da Verrazzano: (ArtTrav’s addition to the list) in via dei Tavolini, tucked in behind the stores of Florence’s tourist area, is a tiny restaurant and take out bakery with some original toppings for a very good schiacchiata. Not cheap if you sit down, and hard to get a spot, but worth it.
  • Forno Top: (ArtTrav’s addition to the list) In via della Spada, a pretty well-priced bakery for the central location. More a foccaccia than the Florentine version, the ones with potatoes or zucchini on top are excellent, though a bit oily.
photo: pastamadre.blogspot.com

Quartiere 5 (near GE/ Nuovo Pignone offices)

  • La Bottega del Pane (Via Giuliani Reginaldo 12-14r) produces its own bread. While not particularly inviting smell-wise, its amber coloured bread is good, crusty but soft inside, not too much salt or oil. Vote 4/5
  • Forno Piuccheppane (Via dei Caboto 43-45) – similar to Pugi (see below), good for lovers of this type of schiacciata. Vote 3/5
  • Panificio Alimentari Tabacchi Becagli Rolando (via del Terzolle 4r) has recently celebrated 100 years in business and is a must for any lover of Leonardo da Vinci (??)
  • Pugi Gianfranco Panificio Pasticceria (via Doni, 8-10r) – well known location for schiacchiata, the document declares “Buona… da leccarsi i piedi!”

Quartiere 2 (Coverciano/ Campo di Marte)

  • Pugi (viale dei Amicis): also available in Piazza San Marco (above), there is always a line up out the door. Vegetarians beware, there’s lard in just about everything.
  • Bottega del Pane (via Cento Stelle 7r) – (ArtTrav’s addition to the list)- similar to Pugi in style, but slightly cheaper, with less of a lineup

Sesto Fiorentino

  • Panificio Berti, Via Bruschi 190 Sesto Fiorentino, is a hole in the wall bakery in the industrial area behind the Ipercoop. It makes some of the best Tuscan bread AND schiacciata.

Best bakeries Beyond Florence

Passo Consuma

Casentino: Bar/Alimentari Consuma

Famous for decades, miles around, this bar/alimentari located on a stretch of road on the Consuma pass between Florence and the Casentino area, at 1060 meters, is a must for a day trip for anyone who loves schiacciata. It is a stop on the road, or a destination, for sunny-day motorcyclists and cyclists. The one filled with porcini mushrooms is the best.

Aretine area: Alimentari La chiassaia loc.chiassaia Loro Ciuffenna (AR)

The holy grail of bakeries, it ought to be protected by UNESCO, if it isn’t already.

Migliana (PO): Forno di Montagnana (in the main piazza)

In a mountain town between Vaiano e Vernio, province of Prato. We have professional tasters here: sure, you can get schiacciata at the supermarket but it loses all its local properties, like the mountain water, oven and climate that go into this exemplar.

San Casciano (FI): La Bottega di Spedaletto (Via Scopeti 103)

On the left side of the road that goes from San Casciano to Chiesanuova, an excellent bakery with a solid, golden-toned schiacciata. The ones filled with mortadella or finocchiona were much appreciated by official tasters. Vote 4/5

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