Pig breeds: Cinta Senese

Pig breeds: Cinta Senese

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Origin, diffusion and production characteristics


The origins of this breed are very ancient and there are pictorial evidences that demonstrate the breeding of pigs similar to the current Cinta Senese since the Middle Ages. The most characteristic trait of this pig is the presence of a white belt, which gives the breed its name, on a black-slate coat. The most famous representation of a pig that resembles the current Cinta Senese is by ambrogio Lorenzetti, Effects of good governance (1319-1347), in the Palazzo Comunale of Siena. Other representations of pigs with white belts appear in paintings and frescoes of the 12th century Sienese school in various churches in the Siena countryside. This breed was probably also known outside of Tuscany, as can be deduced from the presence of other pictorial works depicting this animal, for example in Venice in the Annunziata chapel, in a painting dated 1510, of Faenza execution.
It is a very rustic and frugal breed, so its structure approaches the long-limbed type, with fairly long but robust limbs, shallow trunk, elongated head with a straight profile, suitable for grazing.
The area of ​​origin and breeding of the Cinta Senese is that of the Montagnola Senese, included in the territory of the municipalities of Monteriggioni, Sovicille, Gaiole, Castelnuovo Berardenga and Casole dElsa, in the territory delimited by the upper valley of the Merse river on one side and the upper valley of the Elsa river on the other.
In the forties of the twentieth century it was defined as the most important pig breed in Tuscany, and was bred in a widespread way to obtain the first generation crossbreeding with Boar Large White. These mestizos, known by the names of grays or tramacchiati, were highly sought after by the dairies of Northern Italy (which fed the pigs with the whey that remained after casification) for the production of the Heavy pig, as they are equipped with rusticity, easy to fatten and of very valuable meat.
By the Provincial Inspectorate of Agriculture of Siena, since the early 1930s, a genetic improvement action was implemented for this breed which included the opening of a herd book. This book was then closed in the sixties due to the strong demographic contraction of the breed that touched extinction; it was then reopened in 1997 and transformed into the Registry in 1999.
Cinta Senese was widespread in Tuscany until the 1950s. Between the 1960s and 1990s it underwent a drastic demographic contraction, but in recent years there has been a trend reversal and the Cinta Senese has been showing a positive trend for some time now.
The Cinta Senese produces excellent quality meat, whose characteristics are appreciated above all for the transformation into typical salami. The slaughter weight varies from 40 to 60 kg for the production of porchetta. For the production of heavy pigs, the average slaughter weight is about 150 kg and its meat is mainly transformed into typical traditional cured meats, such as Tuscan ham, salted shoulder, sausages, throat, lard, pancetta or rigatino. , the capocollo, the brawn, the fennel, the buristo. As fresh meat, the loin is mainly used for cooking on the grill in the form of steaks and rosticciane.
It is an animal suitable for outdoor breeding, in the wild or semi-wild.

Morphological characteristics

It is a breed of fine type, of medium size, with a light but solid skeleton. The adult weight is 300 kg for boars and about 250 kg for sows.

Coat and skin - The skin and bristles are black, except for the presence of a continuous white band that completely surrounds the trunk at shoulder height including the front limbs. The transition between black and white can be gradual and not clear. Black spots are also allowed inside the white band.
Head - The head is of medium development, with a rectilinear front-nasal profile; ears directed forward and down, of medium length.
Neck - The neck is elongated and harmoniously inserted into the trunk.
Trunk - The trunk is moderately long, cylindrical in shape laterally depressed, shallow chest and broad abdomen, muscular and well-banded shoulders, straight back-lumbar line, sloping rump, twisted tail, well-descended buttocks.
Limbs - The limbs are medium-long, thin but solid, with dry joints, clear pastoral and compact nails.
Sexual characteristics - In the male: well-pronounced testicles. In the female the breasts must be not less than 10, regularly spaced, with well-pronounced normal nipples and patent.

from Atlas of native breeds - Daniele Bigi, Alessio Zanon - Edagricole

Atlas of native breeds
Cattle, horses, sheep and goats, pigs reared in Italy
Daniele Bigi, Alessio Zanon - Edagricole - November 2008

This book aims to contribute to spreading and increasing awareness of the irreplaceable role played by the breeding of indigenous breeds in Italy in the maintenance of agricultural biodiversity, ecological balance, traditions, and niche economies based on typical products derived from them.
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Cinta Senese (photo

Cinta Senese breed sow with piglets (website photo)

Video: Rare breed Cinta Senese pigs scrumping in Tuscany (May 2022).