History of Italian deli meats

A 2000 years old tradition

Pig breeding developed in Italy in the Po Valley in the Neolithic Period, initially to satisfy the family’s necessities or those of the village. Later, in the Etruscan period, the first forms of stable breeding appeared and products also became a currency for commerce. In Roman times, the pig leg, transformed into prosciutto, became protagonist at social events and feasts; successively, deli meats became money of exchange for commercial transactions. With the passing of the centuries, production and consumption of deli meats progressively gained importance, passing from the triumphs of the Italian Renaissance period when the art of gastronomy developed and the banquets were increasingly more sumptuous, to the nineteenth century, when the first food laboratories and first “salumerie” (deli meats shops) spread through Italy and several Italian deli meats were coded definitively, many of which today are recognised and protected by the European Union.