Chianti Classico, So Why the Black Rooster?

May 9th, 2013

Adesivo ChiantiClassicoOn every bottle of Chianti Classico, you’ll see the infamous Black Rooster. I remember first hearing the story behind the Black Rooster as an undergraduate pursuing my B.A. in Art History at Florida State University. Obviously, Italy was a main focus in art history studies and with Florence being the Medici’s hometown, so to speak, the Black Rooster entered into ne of those lights-out, slide show lectures.

Not only is the Black Rooster a trademark of Chianti Classico, it is the historic symbol of the Chianti Military League and painted by Giorgio Vasari on the ceiling of the Salone dei Cinquecento, in Florence’s Palazzo Vecchio.
This historic symbol dates from the Middle Ages and a particular event when Florence and Siena were fighting for territory and power in present-day’s Italy’s center core. Then, as now, the Chianti region lay between these two great cities. Battles were raged relentlessly with either side gaining and losing ground with no end in sight. The story goes that in order to end the wars and establish a clear border, both sides agreed to a crazy tactic. Each city would have a knight depart at dawn and the point where they met would serve as the border between the two republics. The starting signal for each knight would be the cock’s crow. It’s told that the Sienese chose a white rooster, the Florentines a black. The scheming Florentines kept their black rooster trapped in a small, dark space and didn’t feed it for the days leading up to the event, so that the animal was mad and frantic.
Prior to dawn on the actual day, the Florentines, released their rooster early and it immediately began to crow. This early alarm enabled Florence’s knight to have a huge time advantage, covering much ground before the other knight began his ride from Siena. So ends the story of how almost all of Chianti came under the control of Florence – thanks to a bit of cheating, animal abuse and a ticked-off black rooster!

One Response to “Chianti Classico, So Why the Black Rooster?”

  1. Rick says:

    Thanks for the historical information on Chianti Classico. I always wondered about why the black rooster but never pursued or investigated this.
    Thanks again and thanks for the posting.

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