Italian Wine Windows From the Plague Era Are Back

Buchette del vino were used centuries ago to prevent contagion during Black Death.
Deniz Yildiran

This is not the first time a deadly break-out spread all over the world, hit certain areas in particular. Back in the early seventeenth century, Europe had been facing a recurring spread again.

A similar tradition from those days is taking place at the moment in Italy: getting wines through little hatches called wine windows, or buchette del vino in Italian. 


The tradition is back

People had to, somehow, earn their keep even during a possible killer roamed around. And Italians were selling and buying wines back then. It seemed like a good way for people to keep themselves safe and forward their goods through their windows. Today, the wine windows in Florence are revived to serve ice cream, coffee, and wine. 

Italian Wine Windows From the Plague Era Are Back
Source: Wine Window Association

According to Wine Window Association, wine window owners in Via dell’ Isola delle Stinche at the Vivoli ice cream parlor have opened their window to hand out coffee and ice cream. While the two other windows from Osteria delle Brache in Piazza Peruzzi and Babae in Piazza Santo Spirito got back to their tradition, selling wine. 

Cappucino through Babae in Piazza Santo Spirito
Source: Wine Window Association

As Insider reported, Wine Window Association's president Matteo Faglia said: "People could knock on the little wooden shutters and have their bottles filled directly from the Antinori, Frescobaldi, and Ricasoli families, who still produce some of Italy's best-known wine today."

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Same precautions were taken

A scholar and academic from Florence, Francesco Rondinelli explained in her book and reported by Diletta Corsini that the wine sellers were aware of the possible contagion.

They were passing the glass or bottle of wine through the hatch, but they got the payment by handing a metal pallet for the buyer to put the coins on it. There was almost no direct contact, as we have tried to avoid so far, in 2020. 

Buchette del vino are indigenous to the Tuscany region and mostly Florence, with an exception of the city of Faenza. Windows have been indicated to be present in that city as well, which disappeared later but are recorded by old photographs and publications. 

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