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Legend of the Black Rooster of Chianti

Updated: Aug 6, 2023

I have been invited back to the Castello Meleto Arte Events. This season we are asked to paint the legend of the black rooster of chianti, which is a favorite legend of mine.

It’s the 12th century Tuscany and Siena and Florence have been warring over the chianti region for ages. Sick of all the bloodshed and wanting to end the war, the leaders strike a deal to determine borders between Siena and Florence.

Both cities will choose a knight to ride as soon as the rooster crows. He will ride as fast as he can, and wherever the two knights meet will be the border.

What Siena didn’t anticipate was how ruthless the Florentine tactitions were. The Florentines noted the part in the deal that said, when “the rooster crows”, not “at dawn”. So they come up with a plan to make the black rooster crow sooner than dawn. They kept the black rooster in a dark cage and starved it, so it would crow as soon as it saw any light.

Meanwhile in Siena, their white rooster was fat happy and kept on fresh straw.

As you can imagine, because the Florentines cheated, when the rooster was taken out of its cage the day of the race. It crowed in the middle of the night.

The Florentine knight rode and rode and finally when dawn broke and the Siena knight started his race, the Florentine knight was almost at the city gate.

And that is how Florence obtained more of the chianti territory than Siena. They cheated.

I am in the process of creating my contribution to honoring this legend. You can see behind the scenes on

Instagram: @saravventura_art

I will keep you posted.

If you’re in town August 26th I would love it if you’d attend the event!


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