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Italy's curious tradition of wine windows in Florence

Wine windows made recent comeback in Tuscany.

Italy's wine window tradition, which dates back to the era of the Black Death in the Middle Ages, has seen a revival in recent years following the social distancing rules that were in place during the covid pandemic.

At least 150 of these tiny "buchette del vino" still exist in the historic centre of Florence, according to the Wine Windows association, with another 140 or so scattered around the Tuscany region.

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.

A wine window in Florence. Photo Dissapore.


Many of the wine windows were sealed up or lost over the centuries however the Tuscan tradition is now enjoying a Renaissance in the post-covid era, gaining international exposure in Stanley Tucci's acclaimed television series Searching for Italy

The revival of Florence's wine windows has been championed by the Wine Windows association which, in addition to promoting the tradition with tours, has affixed plaques under the pint-sized wall openings.

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

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

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