What do they mean?
Well, I am 1/4 Italian so for me it means about 4% protein content... (get it?) ;-)
Can't fault your answer. I did ask what it means to an Italian.
I am 100% Italian :-) but i don't know all purpose flour.
Perhaps it could be a flour with 10/12 g of protein ... from us very widespread.
It's the terminology that's confusing. And as you say there's many different types. Think I've tracked down some AP Italian flour from my local Italian bakery.
The generic flour is 00, that in theory ranges from the weakest to the strongest flour (00 only indicates the degree of ashes, thus of sifting) but in practice 95% of the times "00" indicates a white wheat flour with 9-11% proteins. Generally they are MUCH weaker than american all purpose flour.
I guess that the closest thing is cake flour. Not surprisingly generic 00 flours are good only for cakes.
Word of italian.
It is confusing. Went into my local Italian bakery and asked for some flour. It is "00" and hopefully as 95% of the time they mean AP flour it is what I'm looking for. For the final dough build it'll be mixed with durum flour so the combination should be right.