Finocchiona originated in the Renaissance, and possibly even before, in the Late Middle Ages. The use of fennel was an alternative to pepper (a key ingredient of the standard salami), which was very expensive at the time while fennel grew wild and abundant in the Tuscan countryside. Also, fennel is rich in menthol, and because of its anesthetic qualities finocchiona was regularly offered by the winemakers of the Chianti area to their customers before tasting their lower quality wines, to mask their taste. Its name derives from finocchio, the Italian name for fennel.
Also, a variant, sbriciolona, is prepared with a coarser grind, and undergoes a shorter drying (not more than a month). This product has to be cut into larger slices than the typical finocchiona and is consumed using a fork and a knife because it tends to crumble.