Mentioned by Boccaccio in the Decameron as “pan lavato” (or washed bread), panzanella is undoubtedly a rustic dish, originally made in people’s homes. It is commonly believes that the dish developed out of the custom of country folk to soak their old, stale bread in water and mix it with vegetables from the garden.
According to some, the word panzanella comes from the fusion of the words “pane” (or bread) and “zanella” (or soup bowl), while others believe it derives from the word “panzana” that originally meant “pappa” (or food). Regardless, panzanella has always been enjoyed by people of all social classes, demonstrated by the fact that Agnolo di Cosimo, an artist who frequented the Medici court, dedicated a sonnet to the dish in his book “Della cipolla”, published in the 16th century. Its also very tasty so don't knock it until you try it.