In Italy in the plague years of the 17th century, people installed tiny windows and doors in their walls at sidewalk level. Through these openings wine, beer, and spirits could be bought and sold without fear of contagion. (One account reported that patrons’ payment was collected in a metal scoop and the coins dumped into a bath of vinegar.)
These little openings are called in Italian buchette del vino. Three years ago the Wine Window Association (Italian site; Google translation) was founded to celebrate and memorialize this charming (if somewhat grim) architectural & cultural custom in Florence, Italy. It is, clearly, even more relevant now in this plague year of 2020.
Over 150 wine windows have been discovered within the city limits of Florence, some filled in or otherwise inactivated (here is a photo gallery). There are more within the greater Tuscan region. The Association keeps receiving news of new wine window discoveries throughout the country.
Over the centuries these architectural oddities have gone by many names in Italy, among them buche, finestrine, finestrini, finestruole, mostre, nicchie, porte del paradiso, porticciole, porticelle, porticine, sportellini, and tabernacoli.
Sweet blog – how creative during their challenging times. And I love the photos! Wish we had this kind of beauty in old architecture to delight us here….
I can’t see the buchette del vino working here. In very few places in the Cities is there a compact, pedestrian-oriented village of the sort that’s easy to find throughout Italy. You need foot traffic, and even where that once existed here, the Skyways have pulled it up off of the street.
This is fascinating. I’ve always been intrigued by this period of history, in particular plague doctors’ masks and stories (which I don’t know if they’re true) about villages that chose to isolate themselves to help contain it.
Probably true. The word “quarantine” came from Venice, where during the plague years they forced all ships arriving from infected cities to sit in port for 40 days.
Such respect for your knowledge and research.