A STORY TO TELL
A document dated 1782, drawn up to prohibit the introduction to, and sale within, the State of “foreign wines” gives certain ofthe city’s notables the task of “monitoring” the various hostelries, including the “Osteria a S. Antonio” so that the orders will be “punctually carried out”.
Not only is it unquestionable that the reference is to the present “Buca di S. Antonio”, (in ancient Tuscan “Buca” is equivalent to “Taverna” or “Osteria”), but the fact that in 1782 it was still called “Osteria a S. Antonio” (that is “near S. Antonio”) leads one to think that it existed even earlier and that is when l’Ospedale di S. Antonio in Poggio operated in the turning between the little piazza dei Cocomeri and Via della Cervia, i.e. from 1406 till 1610.
During the 18th century, when the space created by demolitions between the little piazza dei Cocomeri and Corte Campana was occuped by the horse postal station, we still find the “Buca” not just as a hostelry but also as livery and stabling.
After the suppression of the postal service, and up until our own days, the “Buca” has continued to function and, thanks to the good management of owners Franco Barbieri and Giuliano Pacini, has remained one of Lucca’s most characteristic places.
Since the end of the coaching days, the Buca di Sant’Antonio has continued to make the best dishes in the traditional cuisine of Lucca. Amongst these is farro soup, one of the oldest dishes in Italy, and a favourite of famous personages as: Giacomo Puccini, Ezra Pound, the King Gustavo of Sweden, the Pricess Margareth of England, Indro Montanelli and others.