I found this bread to be almost identical to the French bread, with the French edging past with superior flavor. I attribute that to the pate fermentee vs. the biga. I find that interesting, though, since one of my favorite "go to" breads is from Martha Rose Shulman and relies on a biga. (It is her Whole Wheat Country Bread from her latest book, Mediterranean Harvest.) After comparing the French with the Italian, I think I'll stick with the French.
After Rising - Ready for the Oven
In the Oven
Check Out That Texture!