Hidden treasures

The history of Cacciucco of Livorno

Local Traditions
Cacciucco-livornese

The history of Cacciucco of Livorno

Cacciucco is one of the most famous Tuscan dishes. Who doesn't know the tasty fish soup typical of Livorno? What few people know, however, is that the recipe for this delicacy comes directly from Turkey! To be precise, we need to go back to around the year 1600, to a village in the bay of Smyrna. Here lived Ahmet, a clever young boy who dedicated his time between the fishing boat of his father and his mother's inn. One of the main dishes she prepared was ‘balik çorbasi’: a soup cooked with different types of fish, garlic, onion, chilli and capers. She usually made it with small fish, those that her husband couldn't sell. If they had been in the pantry for a few days, she also added a little vinegar to remove any strong smell and taste.

How did this soup come to Livorno? Simple: thanks to Ahmet! The little boy who grew up among the tales of the sailors who frequented the inn, soon began to dream of going to Livorno. Finally, thanks to a rich merchant, he found, so to speak, a passage and landed in the city of Livorno. Here he found somebody who helped him by offering him an area where he could open his tavern. This person was so generous that he allowed him not to pay the rent until he started earning something. Fortunately, he didn't have to wait long because Ahmet's soup was extremely popular! He made it just like his mother’s, he had only replaced the capers with tomato, which had just arrived from the new world. But he always used small fish, also because it cost less. He used to go to the market and repeat ‘küçük’, which in Turkish means small, to the sellers holding the weighing scales. Soon, to make fun of him, everyone in Livorno started calling him with that funny word. Even the tasty dish that he prepared became known not as Ahmet's soup, but cacciucco, after the Turkish word was Italianized.

This explains the origin of the name of this dish and also its history. If you enjoyed this story and if you are passionate about recipes and culinary curiosities, you should definitely check out our section on food and wine tours and choose the experience that most appeals to you.

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

Latest posts

Tuscany: Ferdinando Innocenti: the inventor of the Lambretta.

Lambretta
Big Names

There is no doubt that Tuscany is a land of inventors. Just think of Leonardo da Vinci! Ferdinando Innocenti is also one of them. Do yo...

View

Florence: Negroni was born in Florence!

Negroni
Did you know that...

Now that Mojito and Moscow Mule are all the rage as aperitifs, there are classic cocktails that have stood the test of time and moods. ...

View

Tuscany: Eat ‘a ufo’.

mangiare a ufo
Figures of speech

If you are in Tuscany you might happen to eat a ufo. Do you know what that means? Don't worry, little green men and extraterrestrials i...

View

Lamporecchio: The history of Brigidini from Lamporecchio.

brigidini-lamporecchio-1
Local Traditions

Brigidini…so tasty, who hasn’t heard of them? Their sweet scent pervades the air of any countryside fair or festival. They immediat...

View

Top posts

Arezzo: Guido d'Arezzo and the invention of the music

Guido-d-Arezzo
Big Names

In Talla and surroundings people have no doubt: the inventor of the musical stave, the inventor of the music notes and also of the mode...

View

Pistoia: The Kiss of the Christs in Gavinana

Il-bacio-dei-cristi
Local Traditions

It is a very ancient but still popular rite. Two large processions that meet up with a Christ on the cross in front of each one: the he...

View

Siena: Piero Carbonetti and his tin drum

Piero-Carbonetti
Local Traditions

Subversive, persecuted, anarchist, homeless, dreamer: it is really difficult to define Piero Carbonetti, Tuscan bred and born and Garib...

View

Pisa: Kinzika, the young woman who saved Pisa from the Saracens

Kinzika
Local Traditions

It was really her, a young woman with an Arabian name, Kinzica, of the noble Sismondi family, to save Pisa from being sacked by Saracen...

View