Cinta in Italian means belt. The Cinta Senese Tuscan pig is a breed that does not have the uniform light pink colouring of a typical pig, but whose dark coat is encircled by a white belt, giving it its name. After risking extinction when farmers chose to turn to bigger, fatter, higher-producing breeds more suited to intensive farming, the Cinta was recently rescued, protected and promoted by a consortium of small local producers. The pig, in addition to being particularly attractive because of its unusually small size, has characteristics that make it unique.
The breed is traditionally reared in the wild or the semi-wild, in large fenced wooded areas. In this way, the animal’s diet consists mainly of acorns, tubers and roots. Human intervention is limited to periods when food is scarce and at those times, the pigs are given a mixture of whole grains, which are locally grown and free from GMOs.
This type of feed enhances the quality and flavours of the meat, which has excellent nutritional properties due to its concentration of unsaturated fatty acids, specifically the Omega 3 and Omega 6 series. Its fat is rich in oleic acid, making it more delicate than that of other species. As well as being more agreeable to the palate than other types of pork, it is healthier as it fights the accumulation of bad cholesterol.
However, Chianti is not only a land of exceptional flavours but also a place that is unique in the world for its rich historical, cultural and architectural heritage. Together we will learn about the long history of one of its main towns: Castellina in Chianti. The roots of its history lie far beyond the endless rivalries that pitted Siena against Florence in the Middle Ages for supremacy in Chianti, and date far back into the pre-Roman period.
The Etruscans were considered the ancient inhabitants of this land, but to this day, their origins are still mysterious and are a source of disputes in the archaeological world. The Etruscan civilization developed in the lands straddling the regions of Tuscany and Lazio from the thirteenth century B.C. and died out when conquered by Rome about a thousand years later.
Almost all the Tuscan hill towns were founded at that time. We shall see evidence when we visit the remains of a impressive 6th-7th century B.C. burial chamber, situated a few kilometres from the town of Castellina.
We will end our tour by sipping excellent Chianti Classico wines on the stunning panoramic terrace of a small family-owned business. Here we will be hosted by the owners, who will be happy to share their winemaking experiences with us. Wine is their life, so they have many stories to tell, including many ups and downs.