"Sausages of Italy. These include one outstandingly large and important family, the salami. This name (the plural of the Italian word salame) applies to matured raw meat slicing sausages made to recipes of Italian origin, either in that country or elsewhere. Within Italy there are scores of types. Salami are mostly medium to large in size, and those made in Italy are usually dried without smoking. Charactaristically, when cut across, they display a section which is pink or red with many small to medium-sized flecks of white fat. Pork, or mixtures of pork and beef or pork and vitellone (young beef), form the basis; seasonings and fineness or coarsness of cut vary to regional taste. Names denote style, a principle ingredient, or place of origin... Salami made in south Italy and Sardinia are distinguished by their spiciness. They include: Napoletano...Sardo...Calabrese...Peperone (long, narrow, and highly spiced)...all these belong to the class of salame crudo, raw salame."
---Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 1999 (p. 701)
Salami is cured sausage, fermented and air-dried. Salami may refer specifically to a class of salumi (the Italian tradition of cold cuts), where an individual sausage or style of sausage (e.g. Genoa) would be referred to with the singular Italian form salame. Alternatively, in general English usage, salami may be singular or plural and refer to a generic style or to various specific regional styles from Italy or elsewhere, such as France or Germany. The name comes from the Italian verb salare, meaning 'to salt'.
Historically, salami has been popular amongst Italian peasants due to being a meat product able to be stored at room temperature for periods of up to a year, supplementing a possibly meagre or inconstant supply of fresh meat.