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The Livorno Cacciucco

History and recipe of the famous Livorno fish soup

The cacciucco has a strong taste, a perfect mix of flavors,just as is the city from which it comes to life. Livorno is multi-ethnic, free, alive, which is why it blends well with this fish soup that has very ancient origins.

On the origin of the name there are numerous legends, but the most popular one is that it originates from the Turkish term kak, which indicates the small pieces, leftovers of the market sales, therefore suitable for poor families. After all, Livorno has always been a place of passage of sailors, merchants and various peoples.

The fact is that the cacciucco, strictly pronounced with 5 "c" as the Livornos keep to clarify, with the passage of the centuries has perfectly merged with the character of the Tuscan city representing its dish of tradition par excellence.

Livorno, a city completely destroyed by the bombs of the Second World War that with time and effort had to roll up its sleeves and reinvent itself, has made it: it shows its swagger with new buildings that are flanked by the remains of the historical ones left alive representing a city that despite being targeted by pain there is and has always been , with a high head, with tenacity and strength.

It is no secret that the cacciucco in Livorno is not only a dish, but it is a real matter of honor, so beware of how you prepare yes, but above all to how you pronounce it because the Livornos with this dish identify, in this dish you recognize. In short, the cacciucco would not be the same without the labronic atmosphere that accompanies it and Livorno would not be the same without its dish par excellence that could not have as the main ingredient that fish.



What it takes to prepare the cacciucco

The first thing you need to know is that the Livorno cacciucco is prepared with different types of fish. According to the traditional recipe, in fish soup no type should overpower the others, each can not exceed 50% of the total and none must be less than 10%. There must be rock fish including redfish and toad tail, trances, then shellfish and crustaceans, stale bread, fresh or peeled tomatoes, garlic, tomato paste, red wine and extra virgin olive oil.


We want to say that every Livorno has its own recipe for cacciucco: and they are all great!


How to make Fish Soup with Livorno

Serves 4


  • Garlic 1 clove
  • Fresh chilli 1
  • Salvia q.b.
  • Celery 1 coast
  • Extra virgin olive oil 50ml
  • Golden onions 1
  • Concentrate tomato q.b
  • Peeled or tomatoes 600g
  • Toad tail 750g
  • Redfish 850g
  • Carrot 2
  • Cicadas 450g
  • Trance 400g
  • Octopus 650g
  • Sepia 300g
  • Mussels 1 kg
  • Red wine 100ml
  • Salt up to b.b.



First you have to clean and scale the fish being careful to eliminate bowels and gills.

Put a pot on the heat and insert inside the fish scraps: the toad's tailbone, redfish fins and also the legs and carapace of cicadas. Prepare the fish stock by adding enough celery, carrot, onion and salt to a litre and a half of water. Bring to a boil, foaming if necessary, and cook for at least forty minutes.

At this point pass the fish with a green pass and keep them warm.


Then prepare a light sautéed Tuscan extra virgin olive oil with the garlic mince, sage, celery, carrot, onion and chilli and add the powders (or moscardini) cleaned and cut into small pieces, then the cuttlefish. Blend with the Red Tuscan wine, add the tomatoes and then the concentrate, sage and a few ladle of fish broth.

Once the octopuses and cuttlefish begin to soften add the trances, cicadas and finally the mussels. When cooking over low heat add fish stock when necessary.


The Livornese fish soup is ready when the mussels open.


At this point, hang in terracotta holsters with the slices of bread placed on the bottom of the plate or crowned on its edge. The first fish are octopus or/or s cuttlefish, then over whole fish, trances, cicadas and mussels. To conclude, pour a little broth, add a drizzle of Tuscan extra virgin olive oil to raw and serve very hot exactly as tradition dictates.

Enjoy your meal!


Image source: giallo zafferano, io e toscana