Blog Post Photo, Sandwiches in Rome


When is a sandwich not a sandwich! When it’s a tramezzino! And when I told a friend I was writing a post about them she exclaimed “WHY THEY’RE JUST HORRIBLE SANDWICHES?” Not so fast…and not to be confused with the very popular Trapezzino.

I’ve a thing for sandwiches…always have. I also have a adore Donna Leon’s Venetian Detective Commissario Brunetti books! The characters are often going to the bar for a glass of wine and a tramezzino! So…while in Rome I spotted a window full of tramezzini from almost a block away! The initial appeal is, once again that thing Italians have with presentation and packaging!

When it comes to fancy English style sandwiches, I’ve made more than my share in my previous life as a corporate chef/caterer; probably thousands and thousands and you know what…I never got tired of trimming crusts!  Click here for my English fancy sandwiches.  Scroll down to find links to more delicious fillings!

So then I started wondering why are there fancy English style sandwiches in Italy? I have a thing about these sorts of connections! Turns out the origin of the Tramezzino can be found in the Caffee Mulassano di Piazza Castello in Turin where it was devised in 1925 as an alternative to English tea sandwiches. And wouldn’t you know it, Italians being Italians, Venetians claim it first came into being in Mestre in the late 1940’s! Some are of the opinion that it was an import, bought to Turin or Venice by someone who had visited England… aha, I knew it! Personally, I like the idea that someone from England was doing the Grand Tour and requested them!

Poet and writer Gabriele D’Annunzio was credited with the naming of the tramezzino, “Italianizing” the English word “sandwich” and the Italian word means either “between the two” or a “little something in the middle” or a “snack in between.”

The tramezzino is made using soft, white bread with the crusts cut off. And then there are the fillings! Anything from shrimp and arugula; tuna, capers and mayonnaise; tuna, tomato and olive; tomato, mozzarella and lettuce; Proscuitto Cotto (cooked ham) and mayo or with the addition of cheese; and boiled sliced egg, asparagus and tomato. To qualify as a authentic tramezzino, the sandwich must be a delight to the eye and to the taste buds.  I ask you, what’s not to love??

Like I said, I spotted them with my well-trained tramezzini eye!



  1. Great story on the sandwiches Phyllis, I love your site, always learn something from you!

    Merry Christmas to you and Joe!
    best wishes for 2016 as well.
    I hope we can get together again soon.

    this year we are taking a break from sending cards, we went away for 10 days and when we came home it was just too late to be sending them so here is my greeting email!

    love, Carolyn

    • Thanks Carolyn! Appreciate not only your comments on the recent story but also your wishes to us for Christmas! I was thinking the same thing…and put a note in the card I sent you (I was late this year), that we should make a date! Merry Christmas! See you soon!

  2. Hardly horrible. The Italians have raised the sandwich to an art form. I actually don’t much like sandwiches as a rule, but I’m always up for a tramezzino! The variety of fillings is amazing.

    • Sorry to be so long to get back Frank…hope you had a great Christmas Season! And…I am so glad to have found a friend who likes tramezzini as much as me! Like all Italian “packaging”….it’s all about the look and then what’s inside!

  3. I’m with you and Frank…like most culinary treats, The Italians have even managed to make white bread appealing! Love the historical note and would certainly love a few tramezzini with a prosecco at this moment!

    • Took me a while to get back to you…I’m with you Victoria, I could go for a few tramezzini and a couple of glasses of prosecco right now too! Happy New Year!

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