Tasting Lucca by Joan Leotta

italy lucca licensed

Tasting Lucca
by Joan Leotta

Humming Puccini, we
walk the wide path on top
of Lucca’s circular wall
until we reach the market steps.
I descend to buy red beans, farro,
Parmigiano, tomatoes, pancetta.
In our apartment,
I blend and magnify
flavors with a bit of thyme.
As our soup simmers,
the aroma transports us from
modern Lucca to its days as a
conquered Etruscan outpost of
Rome, soldiers marching
in the old piazza—
sandals slapping on stones
in coordinated stoic rhythm—
likely the local Luccan
battalion heading north
to conquer Gaul for Rome.
Probably fortified by
Lucca’s farro soup,
accompanied, of course,
by warm bread,
Rome’s gift to all its people.

Previously published in Tin Lunchbox (Summer 2019). 

PHOTO: Medieval fortress wall, Lucca, Italy. Photo by Ariadna De Raadt, used by permission. 

NOTE: Lucca is a city in Tuscany, Italy, famous for its intact Renaissance-era city walls.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I often bring home recipes from my trips—I don’t ask for them, I simply try to recreate from having tasted the dish—and when I make it here at home, we laugh and share memories of that trip. 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joan Leotta is a writer and story performer. Her poems have appeared in Silver Birch, When Women Write, Verse Visual, Verse Virtual, The Ekphrastic Review, Yassou, Stanzaic Stylings, read at the Ashmolean, and have won an award at the Wilda Morris Challenge. Her first chapbook, Languid Lusciousness with Lemon, is available from Finishing Line Press. Her essays, articles, and stories are also widely published. On stage, she presents folk and personal tales of food, family, and strong women. She loves to walk the beach, cook, and browse through her many travel photos. Visit her at joanleotta.wordpress.com and on Facebook.

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