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

Florence: Do you have “il palletico?”

Palletico_Vohabolario
Figures of speech

In order to explain this term, we’ll give you a simple example: do you recall when, during a school exam, your leg would shake rhythm...

View

Florence: The story of a true Tuscan: the fiasco!

fiasco_fila_
Did you know that...

'A glass bottle, round and thick, without a base, with a covering of swamp weed that surrounds the body and forms its base...’: even ...

View

Volterra: Volterra stone of Gods

alabastro_Volterra
Did you know that...

Volterra is often referred to as a ‘gem of stone’. In fact, everything is built with this material: roads, buildings and tower...

View

Pistoia: The Pistoia’s comfits also won Zeffirelli’s heart!

confetti pistoia
Did you know that...

Pistoia comfits are a real delicacy even if, when you see them, they look a bit funny! They are white and have a very particular shape:...

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