Booze | August 6, 2020 12:04 pm

Medieval “Wine Windows” in Tuscany Are Finding New Uses During COVID-19

An architectural staple during the Plague, these tiny windows now serve gelato, coffee and cocktails

wine window
"Wine windows" were created in the 17th century
Simona Sirio / iStock / Getty Images

Tiny “wine windows” last used during the Plague in Florence and Tuscany have been reutilized to now serve gelato, coffee, Aperol Spritzes and, of course, vino.

As Insider points out, these tiny windows (known as “buchetta del vino”) were once a part of the everyday life in Italy, used to safely sell off surplus wine safely during the Italian Plague of the early 17th century. There’s even a Wine Window Association that looks after these medieval architectural curiosities (you can find their locations here).

“People could knock on the little wooden shutters and have their bottles filled direct from the Antinori, Frescobaldi and Ricasoli families, who still produce some of Italy’s best-known wine today,” as WWA’s president Matteo Faglia told Insider.

As the association notes on their site:

Wine 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. Wine purveyers [sic] also attempted to avoid touching the wine flasks which were brought back to them by the client, in two different ways. Either the client purchased wine which was already bottled, or the client was allowed to fill his or her flask directly by using a metal tube which was passed through the wine window, and was connected to the demijohn on the inside of the palace.

In the time of COVID-19, these windows are now being used to serve dessert, wine and cocktails (as seen at Osteria delle Brache in Piazza Peruzzi).

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