Covid-19 revives plague 'wine window' tradition in Italy

From the plague to covid-19: wine windows make a comeback in Tuscany.

Italy has seen a revival of the 'wine window' tradition, which dates back to the era of the 'Black Death' in the Middle Ages, thanks to the current covid-19 health restrictions.

More than 150 of these tiny 17th-century windows still exist throughout Tuscany, reports Italian newspaper La Stampa, however many have been sealed up or lost over the centuries.

In addition to the historic centre of Florence, the so-called buchette del vino can be found in 27 Tuscan towns.

Their origin goes back to the time of the plague, when they were introduced as part of anti-contagion measures, allowing merchants to sell wine and top up bottles without coming into contact with the customer.

In the era of the coronavirus, the tradition has now turned full circle and the 'germ-free' wine windows are enjoying something of a Renaissance.

Their revival is being championed by the Wine Windows Association which, in addition to promoting the ancient tradition, has been busy affixing plaques under the pint-sized holes.

The Florence-based cultural association says that it is not just vino being handed out through the little windows these days, with the magical sight of hands offering customers gelato, coffee, spritz and even books.

For full details (in English) about the history of the buchette del vino, and where to find them, see the Wine Windows website.

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