Salumi is the catch all for cured meats - everything from salami to capicola. Made with predominantly pork, salumi is salt cured meats.
Technology has progressed so far that some producers make salami in two weeks. This isn't a true salami, t's a commercially processed, mass produced "wet" salami. It is heated to a certain temperature for a number of hours, and then "cured" for about 1-2 weeks. This is the bologna, or typical Genoa you will find at your local grocery chain. It's wet, feels like ham, but looks like salami, and doesn't have much of any particular flavour.
True Salami and the Old World
In the old days salumi was packed in salt - the only preservative available at the time, and hung from 60-90 days. Some whole muscle products like prosciutto or coppa take up to 2 years. The reason for hanging them for so long is the extraction of water because of the salt, and a formation of a white mold, similar to that on cheese. This imparts the flavour and creates a protective barrier. Salumi was produced this way to be able to preserve food for a longer time when fridges and freezers weren't available.
The New World
Today true salami is still hung for an average of 80 days. This helps to cure it to a proper weight, texture, water activity level, acidity, and so on. Technology helps to produce accurate salumi each time. "We can measure and record the entire process of the salami aging and it's quite interesting to observe the changes over time." (- Master Salami Maker @ Moccia & Urbani Salumeria). Moccia & Urbani is one of the few producers in the world to use Celery extract and sea salt to cure their salumi. This is a naturally occurring nitrate that has no negative effects - other than eating a stalk of celery.
We love this kind of manufacturer. Their dedicated to their craft and everything is hand made, start to finish, including inspection. Now that's a true Salumist.