The wine windows of Florence

On our recent trip to Florence, Simon and I came across a feature unique to Tuscany – wine windows. In fact we spent an afternoon finding as many of these intriguing little windows as we could. There are about 180 of them dotted over Florence and while we certainly didn’t find them all, we ended up getting quite attuned to spotting them and knowing the sort of buildings that were likely to have one.

Wine windows or “buchette del vino” became very important to Florence during the plague of 1630 as they allowed for the safe sale of wine and food. (Some rich families also used them as a bit of a tax dodge to sell wine to the poor without paying duties…). During the recent pandemic some windows have been reopened to allow people to access wine and food in a safe, socially distanced way.

While many windows have been blocked up, damaged by the 1966 flood, or just sprayed with grafitti – there are those that are trying to cherish and protect these little pieces of Florentine history. They certainly made us think about and reflect on the ingenuity of the people of the past to get round the need for social distancing due to plague and what lessons we could learn today. This solution didn’t involve plastic…

Here is a sample of the different styles of these little windows.