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Discover an ancient tradition in Florence: the wine windows

Discover an ancient tradition in Florence: the wine windows
About Florence

20-01-2022

Photo Credits: sailko, Via del giglio, buchetta del vino, CC BY-SA 3.0

While admiring the best art pieces in town along your Florence private tours itineraries, you may want to stop here and there for a tasty break and that is when you can try wine windows.

The tradition of selling wine in Florence is old as these tiny windows witness. When strolling around in the city center of Florence you should have probably noticed them. They are small windows located on the front facade of ancient buildings. During the past centuries, they served the main purpose of selling bottles and glasses of wine to people outside.

Wine windows: then and now

The origin of the so-called “Buchette del Vino” dates back to the XVI Century, when several wealthy families of Florence had to reinvent themselves, since due to political and economical reasons they could not gain enough through their banking activities. This is why most of them turned into wine producers. 

When Cosimo De’ Medici became the Duke of Florence, he approved a law that allowed Florentine families to sell wine from their agricultural collections directly from their home, avoiding the cost of middlemen and other taxes. In return, local families promised support and loyalty to the new Duke.

Therefore, wine windows are shaped according to their basic aim of selling wine. They are small windows at about serving height with a little arch above.

Later in the XVII Century, the bubonic plague caused countless deaths throughout Italy so it was necessary to keep social distance, and that is when wine windows served a new function. They turned out to be an easy way to trade wine in a safe way. 

Today it is possible to count more than 150 wine windows in Florence. However, there is no exhaustive list of them. In 2020 because of the pandemic, wine windows were used again for their ancient purpose of selling wine with minimal contact between the seller and the customer.

Restaurants in Florence with wine windows

Wine windows in Florence are many, so which one is the most recommended?

The restaurant Babae, located in Santo Spirito district on the southern bank of Arno river, is one of the first ones that used the wine windows, even before the pandemic. If you go there, then do not miss the “wine window hour” from 7 to 8 PM to get your glasses filled.

Another great place which is provided with a wine window is Vivoli Ice cream parlor, located just a few steps away from Holy Cross Church. Here the small windows as a safe measure since 2020.

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