The black rooster is the symbol of Chianti and it represents Chianti Classico wine. Wine lovers might have noticed that there’s a little black rooster on top of every bottle of Chianti Classico. The following questions come to mind: why a black rooster? What does it represent? It’s down to an old legend. Life wasn’t easy in the Middle Ages. It was a violent time strewn with battles to conquer enemy territory. Florence and Siena were rivals, constantly fighting for precious land.
The legend says that one day, after much blood had been spilled, the two cities decided to enter into a peace agreement: they would redefine their borders using two knights: one departing from Florence and the other from Siena. Both knights would leave the city centre at sunrise, when the first rooster crowed, and the official border would be set at the point where the knights met. While the Sienese chose a white rooster, thinking that it would wake up earlier, Florentines chose a black rooster. In a sneaky attempt to gain time, they took a black rooster and locked it in a darkened room without food for many days. On the big day, as soon as the hungry black rooster was set free – in the middle of the night – it crowed! So, the Florentine knight was able to ride much further than the knight from Siena – he got as far as 12 km from the Siena walls near Fonterutoli, in Castellina. So this explains why the border between Siena and Florence isn’t in the middle of the two cities.
Nowadays, the road covered by the knights is known as the Chianti Classico Black Rooster road.