How to Pronounce “Ciabatta” in Italian – Pronunciation Guide

The ciabatta (feminine, plural: ciabatte) is a classic type of Italian bread made from wheat, flour, water, salt, yeast and olive oil. Recognisable by its long flat shape, large holes and crunchiness, it is a very popular choice for sandwich-making across the world.

You may be surprised to learn that the ciabatta isn’t an ancient bread whose recipe has been handed down for generations. In fact, it was first invented in 1982 by baker Arnaldo Cavallari, who was concerned that the reliance on French baguettes for sandwiches was endangering the businesses of bakers around Italy.

Origin of the word:

Ciabatta is actually one way of saying slipper in Italian. We can assume that the long, broad, flat shape of the bread reminded Cavallari of this particular kind of footwear!

italian word ciabatta

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How to pronounce ‘ciabatta’ in Italian

As with many Italian food names, ciabatta has been Anglicised to suit the sounds of the English language. That said, there isn’t a massive difference between the two pronunciations.

In fact, the only relevant difference is that English speakers don’t pronounce the double tt. Americans usually pronounce it as a ‘d’ sound whereas the British use a single ‘t’ sound. In order to produce the double tt properly, you must hold the consonant for a brief second before releasing. It should sound similar to a very short pause in the middle of the word.


ciabatta bread sliced on a stone plate
Adoro la ciabatta! = I love ciabatta bread!

Ho comprato tre ciabatte dal panettiere questa mattina.

I bought three ciabatta loaves at the bakery this morning.

Other meanings for ciabatta in Italian are:

  • a multi-plug adapter or power strip (due to its oblong shape)
  • an old person or thing that is considered worn-out and useless

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