Monday, September 24, 2012

Cinta Senese

Historical Pigs 
The cinta senese is a handsome pig, bred in these parts for centuries. The distinctive white band tends to include the forelegs.  This pig lives in the oak and chestnut wooded hills around Siena and is prized for the sausages, hams and salame it provides. There is a small farm of cinta senese beside the unsealed road on the ridge east of Le Ripe.

The internet will tell you that the British saddleback, which resembles the cinta, is a 20th century breed, but there is documented proof of the Sienese cinta's antiquity.

detail from wall depicting effects of good government

Visit the Palazzo del Popolo in Siena, as you must,
and you will find the breed enshrined in a glorious fresco by Ambrogio Lorenzetti in the Hall of the Nine, the council chamber where the nine city councillors of the day would meet.
wall depicting allegory of good government

The fresco dates back to
1340 and on two large walls, depicts the Allegory and Effects of Good Government, a concept refreshing still today and surprising for its solid, secular awareness almost 700 years ago. It is interesting that the Judge is surrounded by female figures: Peace, reclining on her bench; Justice on her throne with Virtue at her feet; Wisdom floating above her head as well as many others.

1 comment:

  1. The breed had become quite rare, I believe. But with the arrival of the slow food and locavore movements, I imagine that its future is safe for now.

    Hams and salami made with cinta sense can be bought online nowadays, like this finocchiona made by the excellent Macelleria Falorni in Greve in Chianti:


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