Return to Il Borro – Part 2: The Chianina Cows

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One of my fondest memories of living at Il Borro is the sight of the Chianina cattle grazing on the rolling hills of the estate’s countryside.

Salvatore Ferragamo first introduced me to the Chianine of Borro years ago. Alvaro, a farmer on the estate, had a beauty that he kept in one of the old farmhouses. When we were filming at the estate recently I asked Salvatore if I could have a private visit with the herd, and I was delighted to see them once again, now multiplied several-fold.

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“Alvaro’s Bull” 2002

They are a gorgeous breed of cattle, indigenous to the Tuscany region where they have been raised for over 2200 years.

Originally bred as beasts of burden, they are now in high demand for their very tasty and lean meat. The famous Bistecca Fiorentina should be made of a T-bone cut from none other than the Chianina. Seeing them here in this noble setting it was difficult for me to think of them as simply meat on the hoof.

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I have created countless paintings of these lovely creatures.

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I feel a deep connection with these animals… the sight of them evokes to me a Tuscany of another era.

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Their  distinctive white color, elegant profile and shape of their horns make me think back even further, to the origins of human life in Europe and the advent of agriculture, as the stunning, recently discovered cave paintings of Lascaux demonstrate.

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Some of the many Chianine in the Ferragamo’s herd…

Related: Tuscany paintings

 

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