Original windows in Florence historic center from where you can buy wine and food: let’s discover these little “wine holes” together!
Hello Dear Explorers,
did you know that in Florence there are hidden tiny doors that have more than 400 years of history and that some of these have recently been reused to avoid contagion from Covid? These are the so-called Florentine Wine Windows, small openings present on many noble palaces, once used for the sale of retail wine flasks and today reopened by some business owners to serve wines, cocktails and gelato avoiding direct contact. Come and discover them with me in my virtual tour or my guided tour Secret Florence!
After months of forced stop, lockdowns and quarantines, Italy and Florence are slowly trying to restart and transfers between provinces and regions are finally possible. I therefore decided to get back to my explorations and to dedicate myself again to my blog, which has been abandoned for too long, and virtually take you around Tuscany with me.
To begin, I took a simple walk in Florence. Although the weather is not the best and it is still a bit chilly, I really wanted to be outdoors and breathe a bit of “Florentine vibe” that I had missed so much.
The Wine Holes (Buchette del Vino) on Florence historic buildings
While strolling around Florence, I came across these small arch-shaped openings found on many buildings in the historic center and wondered if people outside of Tuscany knew what they were. Here in Florence everyone knows the history of the “wine holes” and we almost take it for granted, but such a thing does not exist anywhere else in Italy and in the world so why not tell everyone about it?
The wine windows on Florence (Buchette del Vino) are tiny doors that date back more or less to the 17th century and are present on most of Florence noble palaces. In that period, the wealthiest Florentine families had suffered a sharp decline and a huge loss of their earnings due to the various economic crises and political struggles that had involved our country. They therefore had to reinvent themselves and decided to invest what they had left in the purchase of agricultural land: in a nutshell they started to trade wine!
The production and sale of wine in Florence has always been a profitable and stable activity since the Middle Ages and therefore guaranteed a secure income; so they decided to open their “point of sale” and to build these small windows from which they could retail wine directly from their homes.
It was a very convenient activity because there was no mediation and above all it was tax free, thanks to a concession from the Grand Duke of Tuscany, which allowed these Florentine families to get rich again and become the most famous wine producers in the world. .
If you walk around Florence and pay attention you will be able to find lots of wine windows, even some hidden once because they were walled up or incorporated into more modern buildings; just think that in the historic center of Florence there are 145 “wine holes” and there could be many others that have not been discovered yet!
From wine windows to “anti-germ” windows!
The funny thing is that starting from last summer, due to the health emergency from Coronavirus, some business owners in Florence who were lucky enough to have wine holes inside their shop, decided to reopen them to the public in order to avoid direct contact with the consumer and for a safe sell of wine, gelato, snacks and various aperitifs.
For this reason they have been renamed “anti-germ” wine windows and their fame has become international, so much so that even Stanley Tucci, the famous Italian-American actor, talked about them in his new TV show “Searching for Italy”, aired on CNN in February.
But to tell the truth, this is nothing new for Florentine wine windows because it seems that already around 1630, during the terrible plague epidemic that destroyed Europe, they were used to limit the contagion between sellers and buyers and that the transfer of money and wine flasks was taking place through a metal scoop and after careful disinfection with vinegar.
It is really true when people say that history repeats itself!
Today during my walk I stopped by Vivoli, historic gelato shop in Florence, I knocked on its tiny door and enjoyed my first gelato of this season… all through their wine window!
Have you ever heard about these wine windows ( Buchette del Vino)?
I look forward to seeing you here to enjoy together some of my Florence tours: among the things to do in Florence there is also the Unsual Florence experience that includes the discovery of these interesting wine holes!