A bit of curiosity, if not history.
As panettone is the best known and most loved Milanese specialty in the world, here is a short legend about how it was invented.
One Christmas Eve many years ago a banquet was being held at the court of Ludovico Sforza. There was a festive atmosphere with music, singing and jesters performing. The lavish dinner was expected to be crowned with a fabulous cake personally prepared by the head cook and made to a most secret recipe of his. By mistake, or inadvertently, the delicious cake burnt. In the kitchen, beside the desperate head cook, Toni, a kitchen-hand, mixed the remains of the burnt cake with some candied fruit, spices, eggs and sugar.
When the new cake was ready he suggested the head cook should serve it. Despite its loaf-like appearance, they had no alternative. So, arranged on a platter, the cake was taken to the table where, after some initial perplexities, it had great, unexpected success; even Ludovico himself congratulated the head cook on his creation. This is how, the “pan-del-Toni” (Toni’s bread), hence called panettone, became the city’s emblematic cake.
Another version has that Toni made the special bread cake to win the hearth of the daughter of his boss, you are free to choose the version you prefer, while you taste your pan-del-Toni panettone.