Italy’s Ancient Wine Windows

Italy's wine windows

And How They Are Being Used During COVID-19

The coronavirus pandemic has caused a lot of changes this year. While it feels like we’re entering into a whole new world, the fact is that previous generations also faced health crises and had to find ways to adapt. Take Italy’s wine windows, for example. 

These cute windows around Florence and Tuscany have an interesting history, but these spectacles are now becoming Instagram-worthy moments during this modern-day pandemic. 

wine windows

The History of Wine Windows

The Bubonic Plague swept through Europe in the early 1600s, killing around ⅓ of the European population at the time. The plague devastated Italy from 1629 to 1631. During this time, many still needed their wine fix, so Buchette del Vino, or “wine windows” were created. 

These small windows in the side of buildings were used way before “social distancing” was a part of the new norm. But they were used to do just that! In the 17th century, these little shuttered windows allowed people to buy and sell wine without having direct contact. Winemakers would pass a flask through the window, along with a metal tray to the customer. The customer would drop coins into the tray, return it, and then the winemaker would disinfect the coins with vinegar. Clearly, a plague was not enough to stop people from getting their vino.

In 2015 three individuals started a foundation called Associazione Buchette del Vino. This association was created to help preserve these historic windows in Florence. Now 5 years later, they are again needed. 

There is no official number of how many wine windows there were exactly in Florence during the plague. Many have either been covered or destroyed. One example is the flood of 1966 in Florence, during which many of the wine windows were destroyed beyond repair. 

Currently, they believe there are around 150 wine windows within the old city walls of Florence, 25 outside of the old city walls, and 93 scattered around Tuscany. The Wine Window Association has a map of where all the wine windows are located.

Italy's wine windows on side of yellow building

How They Are Being Used Now

The wine windows are being used for more than just vino, but also food, coffee, cocktails, and even ice cream. 

Before the COVID-19 outbreak, only one wine window was being used in the city. Now a few more have started to open up, like the Vivoli ice cream parlor who has reopened their wine window or “ice cream window” to give customers coffee and ice cream. 

The restaurant, Osteria delle Brache, has also opened their wine window to serve wine as well as different cocktails and food. 

Acquaforte Sangiovese
Bright Cellars’ own Acquaforte Sangiovese

Want to get your Italian wine fix without leaving home? Try our new Sangiovese from Sicily!

In Vino Finito

While this pandemic has been difficult to deal with there is something good that is coming out of it – preserving the historic wine windows in Italy. 

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Bright Cellars

Our staff is full of passionate wine lovers. With our amazing sommeliers at the helm, we’ve been schooled on all things wine. We came together to write this article, in hopes of spreading a little wine-ducation with you.

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