Focaccia is a flat Italian bread coming originally from
the northern shores of the Mediterranean.
In ancient Rome “panis focacius” denoted flat bread cooked in the
ashes of the fire (“focus” meaning fireplace in Latin). This is the
origin of the name we use today.
In France this type of bread had become a luxury item towards
the end of the middle ages, and was available in a number of
different shapes and forms. Documents from the 14th and 15th
centuries even equated it to a sort of cake known as placentula -
apparently to avoid paying the tax on bread at the time.