When I lived in Florence, Italy for a few months for a study abroad program, I remember seeing these little windows all over the city. They seemed to have no function, and I thought maybe they were just decorative. Wrong! These windows, called “Buchette del Vino,” are actually relics from the city’s ancient history and were used to allow merchants to pass wine through a small hole to avoid direct contact with clients during the Black Plague that affected Florence in the 1600s.
Now that Florence and the rest of the world are experiencing another pandemic, wine windows are coming back. Around Florence and Tuscany, wine windows are reopening to help people access food and drinks while socially distancing.
The Buchette del Vino Associazione, which is a cultural association dedicated to cataloging all the wine windows (either in disuse or being currently reopened), even has a map on their website showing the locations of the windows.
So, if you find yourself in Tuscany, go visit a wine window (some are also serving gelato or coffee). You’ll be socially distancing and also participating in a past tradition!