Small windows in Florence known as “wine windows” are seeing a resurgence as people look to get food and drinks while keeping socially distant during COVID-19.
These beautiful little windows are known as buchette del vino and are unique to Tuscany, according to Insider. These windows date back centuries, some to medieval times, and were used to sell surplus wine to the working class. In the early 20th century, these windows “gradually became defunct, and many wooden ones were permanently lost in the floods of 1966,” Wine Window Association’s president Matteo Faglia told the publication.
But when the association was founded in 2015, they aimed to bring reverence back to these historic sites, according to a previous piece by Wine Spectator. They catalogued nearly 300 such windows, which can be spotted in a map on the associations website. Last year, Babae became the first restaurant to re-open a wine window for customers again, but now it seems a lot of spots are following suit.
“Everyone is confined to home for two months and then the government permits a gradual reopening,” the Wine Window Association explained on its website. “During this time, some enterprising Florentine Wine Window owners have turned back the clock and are using their Wine Windows to dispense glasses of wine, cups of coffee, drinks, sandwiches and ice cream — all germ-free, contactless!”
It turns out they were also used for a similar purpose when the Italian Plague hit in the 1630s. Payment was passed through the window via a metal pallet and disinfected with vinegar.
“Wine purveyors also attempted to avoid touching the wine flasks which were brought back to them by the client, in two different ways,” an article on the Wine Window Association website reads. “Either the client purchased wine which was already bottled, or the client was allowed to fill his or her flask directly by using a metal tube which was passed through the wine window, and was connected to the demijohn on the inside of the palace.”
Faglia told Insider that he hopes their more modern use will help people respect their history and their utility more so that they can avoid being vandalized, as they often have been in recent years.
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