The Legend of the Black Rooster (Gallo Nero)

Picture this: You’re at a picnic table in a hilltop town in the beautiful hills of with a bottle of Chianti Classico wine. As you take your first sip, you mouth explodes with a variety of spices and the taste of fresh red fruits. While this wine is perfectly light to go with fatty Italian meats, it is full of a rich history. 

You may have noticed that some wine bottles here in Chianti are marked with what the Italian's call Gallo Nero. Curious the meaning behind this symbolic black rooster?

photo by kelsey gibson

photo by kelsey gibson


The black rooster has been a symbol of power, victory, and pride for the Florentines since the 1200s. Siena and Florence were in constant dispute over their territories, but when the rich soil of the Chianti region was up for debate, both sides were willing to race for it. Both Siena and Florence each got to pick one horseman and one rooster. While Siena chose a plump white rooster that was well-fed and nurtured, the Florentines picked a black rooster deprived of both food and daylight.

Once each side chose their rooster, the rules were determined. On the morning of the race, the horseman could begin to ride when their rooster crowed. Then, wherever the two horsemen met is where they would define boundaries.

photo by kelsey gibson

photo by kelsey gibson


Here’s the exciting part: the night before the race, the horsemen were ready to go…all that was between them and riding for victory was the simple sound of their rooster’s call in the morning. As the anxiety built up throughout night and even before the morning light, the black rooster, hungry and sleep deprived, crowed well before Siena’s rooster giving the Florentine rider an extravagant head start. On the other side, the white rooster with a full belly woke up much later from a deep sleep and caused Siena to lose much time and land. By the actual time the two horsemen met, Florence had conquered almost all of the land in the Chianti region and won it over Siena.

Ever since this day, the black rooster has become a well-known symbol for great quality wine and Florentine victory.

So, Salute to Chianti, Florence, and of course… the Black Rooster!

Want to try some fabulous wines? Then Join one of our trip or let us plan a trip for you!




Day Trips From Florence, Italy

By Kelsey Gibson

Day Trips from Florence

            While there are numerous things to do in Florence, day trips are the perfect way to travel if you have limited time and want to see somewhere new!


Here are a few places that are perfect for a one-day trip:


Many Italians are very proud of the little town called Verona because it is one of the first cities travelers from the north go through. Located in between the popular cities of Milan and Venice, it is a pure depiction of simplicity and romance and is home to the tragic love story of Romeo and Juliet. Here you can write love letters and wishes on paper and stick it on the walls below Juliet’s balcony in hopes that she will make these love wishes come true.

You can spend hours reading these heartfelt, passionate, and unforgettable letters of people from around the world. Even though Verona is mostly known for the setting of Romeo and Juliet, it has much more to offer. The Piazza delle Erbe is a beautiful open square full of markets selling all kinds of souvenirs during the day and full of people having an apertivo during the evening. This renaissance town is also home to their exquisite Arena of Verona.

This arena resembles Rome’s Colosseum, and even though it is smaller in size, it is still an incredible sight worth seeing! Verona has many attractions and sights to see, but it is also the perfect place to sit back, relax with a glass of wine, and enjoy the beauty of the architecture and people or even take a stroll around the whole town in just an hour or so! Definitely a must do day trip and is only about 3 hours away via train from Florence!





Cinque Terre

While working in Florence, the Amalfi Coast was hard for me to get to since it was a bit further away. I would have had to take a couple days off to really embrace the gorgeous beauty of it all and did not want to cut my time short. However, the next best place to enjoy the coastal cliffs of the Italian Riviera is Cinque Terre, meaning the 5 lands. These 5 ‘lands’ include Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. Cinque Terre is the perfect place for a quick getaway full of sunshine, clear blue water, and some limoncello! The train is easy to hop on and off of to get to each different ‘land’; however, if you are going in the middle of the summer be prepared for the crowds.

My advice would definitely to try to avoid peak season, but it is still well worth the visit! You can also opt out of the train hopping and take a ferry, which I definitely recommend, because you are able to have a different perspective of the cliffs from the water. The last option is to hike between the different towns.

These hikes are a little more strenuous than a stroll through a park, but the views from above are worth a little bit of sweat! Everyone needs a little exercise after some limoncello and pesto too, right!?

If you want to avoid the moving around, pick a place and stick to it! Monterosso al Mare definitely has the most beach area to relax on and it is easy to either rent a chair and umbrella or you can set up your own towel on one of the public beaches! Either way, you get to enjoy the same view! This trip from Florence to Cinque Terre is also about 2.5 hours, but can have at least one, maybe two different train changes (most likely Pisa and La Spezia).






When thinking of day trips from Florence, you don’t have to go too far to have an incredible day experience. What is the first thing that comes to your mind when thinking of Tuscany…WINE! What better of a day trip than a wine tasting in an old vineyard somewhere in the hills of Tuscany. Better yet, why not the land of the black rooster, Chianti! Joining a tour to Chianti for the day was easily one of my favorite days in Italy last summer.

Driving from Florence through the winding roads of Tuscany is truly unbelievable and makes you feel as though you are in the middle of a movie. Pictures do no justice here. Last summer I took a cooking class and wine tasting through the restaurant Touch at the Colle Bereto vineyard and it all took my breath away!

The drive out there would be enough within itself; however, when you arrive to these old vineyards, you really get to enjoy the passion, pride, and love of these winemakers while they tell you the history behind each one of their wines. Best part about organized tours to a vineyard, is that you won’t have to worry about the driving after a couple glasses of wine! Time and distance varies depending on where exactly you decide to go, but on average, Chianti is about 30 min – 1.5 hours away!





Florence is a spectacular place and there are so many surrounding places to see. 

Need some more tips and ideas for taking a day trip while visiting Italy? Contact our Custom Travel team here

Kelsey is the Part Time Assistant Travel Consultant for Travel Italian Style and is a student at the University of Mississippi studying Hospitality Management with a minor in Spanish and Business Administration. Kelsey took part in an exchange program in Argentina in high school which created a flourishing passion for travel and learning about other cultures. From then on she took every advantage to study abroad and backpack through Europe. This past summer, Kelsey interned for a local restaurant, Touch, in Florence, Italy and fell in love with the Italian culture. She was able to have a real local experience by making friends with coworkers and locals. She wants to make it possible for everyone who travels to be completely immersed into the culture in order to gain another perspective and to be able to enjoy life even more.

Cantine Aperte 2015 May 30th-May 31st!

It's the most wonderful time of the year in Italy, Open Winery Weekend!

Dating back to 1993, this annual event filled with culture, art, food & wine was once called "Open Cellar Day." Now, it has been extended for two days in many areas of Italia!

What is it? This important event for Italian tourism was created to bring awareness and appreciation to their wine regions. Just like regional dishes, each areas wine is unique to them and they want to prove it!

 Exploring Italian's vineyards in not like in the USA. Most tastings are appointment only but this weekend guests have the ability to hop around from place to place, touring the cellars &  tasting amazing local wines from big names to boutique/family run homes.  In addition to wines, many will offer local cheeses, olive oils and other homemade specialities. 

The best part is that this event is run by the winemakers themselves, giving you the ultimate experience.

Working for a tour company and having amazing Tuscan friends gave me the upper hand in experiencing this special day in the best possible places (about 4 times)! 

This week on my newsletter I will be sharing two of my favorite locations in Tuscany as well as other regions to consider visiting, so be sure to sign up to find out more! 

Also, I have a question for you: Would you be interested in joining Travel Italian Style on a tour during this day? Comment below if so!