Italians Are Reviving The 17th Century “Wine Window” Tradition That Was Used During The Plague

During this ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, all kinds of businesses are looking for different ways to keep providing their services while ensuring social distancing. Thanks to people’s creativity, such practice had recently managed to revive Italy’s legendary wine-selling tradition dating back to the 17th century.

These “Wine Windows”, or buchette del vino, that you can see in the photos below, were used by vintners in Italy to sell wine during plague pandemics that took place in the 17th century.

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Currently, these adorable little “wine windows” are being used again to serve customers wine, cocktails and other drinks while still maintaining social distancing

Turns out, there’s even a society called The Wine Windows Association and its whole purpose is to protect and promote them.

“Today, during our period of covid-19 pandemic lockdown, the owners of the wine window in Via dell’Isola delle Stinche at the Vivoli ice cream parlor in Florence have reactivated their window for dispensing coffee and ice cream, although not wine. Two other nearby wine windows, that of the Osteria delle Brache in Piazza Peruzzi and that of Babae in Piazza Santo Spirito, have taken us back in time by being used for their original purpose—socially-distant wine selling,” The Wine Windows Association writes on their website.

These windows were first introduced in the 1500s

According to the website of The Wine Windows Association, “Francesco Rondinelli, the Florentine scholar and academic, in “Relazione del Contagio Stato in Firenze l’anno 1630 e 1633”, during the terrible bubonic plague epidemic occurring in Europe at that time, reported that wine producers who were selling their own wine through the small wine windows in their Florentine palaces, understood the problem of contagion. They passed the flask of wine through the window to the client but did not receive payment directly into their hands. Instead, they passed a metal pallet to the client, who placed the coins on it, and then the seller disinfected them with vinegar before collecting them”

By the way, Bored Panda had a chance to ask one of the members of The Wine Windows Association named Mary Forrest some questions. When asked, how the idea to create a society like this came to be, Mary told us this: “Matteo Faglia and Diletta Corsini had been photographing the wine windows for several years and in 2015 decided to form an organization to protect and promote them.”

“Since the wine windows are hundreds of years old (most of them date from the 1500s and 1600s), we want to preserve them wherever possible. Many have been lost, covered over, or destroyed. We also do research to learn more about their uses. We are also cataloging them. Before the formation of the Association, nobody knew how many there were in Florence or in other Tuscan cities,” Mary Forrest told us.

When asked, how many “wine windows” are currently open and working, Mary said this: “Only 4 or 5 windows are currently in use by the restaurants who have them. However, there are well over 150 in downtown Florence, as well as some in surrounding Tuscan cities and towns.”

“There are well over 150 in downtown Florence, as well as some in surrounding Tuscan cities and towns”

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“The restauranteurs who revived their use should be congratulated for using their imaginations and originality in reviving their use,” added Mary Forrest. “The wine windows are an architectural feature which is unique to Tuscany, and well worth seeking out the next time you are in Florence.”

To learn more about these “wine windows” and The Wine Windows Association, you can visit their website here.

Here’s what people are saying about these “wine windows”

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Follow Bored Panda on Google News! 202 FollowJulija Svidraitė Author, BoredPanda staff

Julija Svidraitė is a Bored Panda writer an photo editor who recently got her bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Before Bored Panda, Julija worked as a social media specialist and content creator at a marketing agency. She also tried herself in many different fields working as an intern: from practising graphic design at a social media marketing agency to being an assistant at a psychiatric hospital.
Her favorite articles to write are the ones about extraordinary everyday people. She wholeheartedly believes that each and every one of us sees life in their own unique way and it’s always a pleasure to help people share their unique experiences with this beautiful community Bored Panda has managed to grow… Read more »

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