Pandoro is in fact more closely related to actual bread, although it is strongly enriched with butter, vanilla and egg yolks. Its historical predecessor was called libum, and it was first recorded in ancient Roman times where honey was used instead of vanilla as a sweetener and the leavening was not so pronounced. The recipe was updated around the year 1200 in the area of Verona, where it became known as nadalin – and then again when the vanilla sticks became relatively common thanks to the Eastern trade routes coming through Venice.
The current form and shape of pandoro was however patented in 1894 by the Veronese baker Melegatti, with its now traditional shape of a truncated cone with a star-shaped section. The idea was a contemporary of the modern panettone recipe and they probably influenced each other, soon both becoming a Christmas tradition.