Cultivation of spelt spread during Ancient Roman times, and was used as a staple. Spelt probably originated in Palestine and was brought to Italy by the Romans. It was used in marriage ceremonies. The cultivation of spelt was gradually replaced by wheat, and remained active in just a few areas of the central-southern Apennine areas. In some areas in the region of Molise some old and precious strains of Triticum Dicoccum spelt managed to survive; it was used exclusively in the preparation of dishes used during marriage ceremonies.
The social-economic reasons which led to abandoning spelt can be summarised as follows: the spelt plant is very tall, and easily bent by heavy rain; spelt has a husk, so it needs to be hulled before it can be used; yield per hectare is low compared to wheat. For these and other reasons the cultivation of spelt started to decline, and the grain owes its rediscovery to organic farming. The fact that it has a husk, in fact, protects it from polluting factors, and furthermore in its cultivation it manages to compete well with weeds, and lastly it does not tolerate nitrogenous fertilisers much, which are the basis of conventional farming. From a nutritional point of view spelt is an extraordinary cereal grain, rich in vitamins A,B,C, E, mineral salts, calcium, magnesium. It is also rich in dietary fibre which aids in regulating the intestine. Its main characteristic is its antioxidant power due to the presence of selenium, which resists the formation of free radicals, responsible for ageing. The protein content of spelt ( Triticum monococcum) is an average of 17% with a maximum of 19%, more than wheat. Spelt is well-tolerated by anyone who suffers from wheat sensitivities, which are not to be confused with allergies because anyone suffering from coeliac disease does not tolerate spelt.