The Gallo Nero (Black Rooster) is the historic symbol of the League of Chianti and has become the symbol of the wines of Chianti Classico. The Black Rooster symbol is linked to a medieval legend that takes place during the time of open hostilities between Florence and Siena for control of the Chianti territory in the Middle Ages.
A very bizarre way was chosen to put an end to the disputes and this is where the rooster comes into play: the two factions decided to set the boundaries by sending two horsemen from their respective city centres at sunrise; the point at which the two horsemen met would mark the boundaries of the territory and the crowing of the rooster would be the signal for their departure.
The rooster’s crow at dawn was the signal for the knights to start riding. The Sieneses opted for a white rooster; the Florentines chose a black rooster.
The Florentines kept their rooster in a small, dark chicken-coop and did not feed it for days. On the day of the ride, once the black rooster was freed, it began to crow well ahead of dawn, allowing for the Florentine knight to depart well in advance of the Sienese knight.
The white rooster, on the other hand, sang at the normal time and the Sienese horseman set off at daybreak. His journey only lasted 12 km, because he met the other rider at Fonterutoli.
It was in this curious way that Chianti passed almost entirely into Florentine hands.